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Beyond the Pale: The Story of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Hardcover – August 26, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ken Grossman couldn't have known that his early fascination with taking apart household appliances would eventually lead to welding together Sierra Nevada's first malt mill and customizing its bottling equipment. Although obstacles obscured Grossman's path, his determination to brew the kind of beer he liked to drink and be his own boss led to the success of one of America's best-loved craft breweries.

From his youthful adventures to his experience in dealing with the complex landscape of the beer industry, Beyond the Pale chronicles Grossman's trials and tribulations in building a brewery that now produces more than 800,000 barrels of beer annually. Grossman recalls the role models and life experiences that fed his curiosity and drive—from a neighbor's obsession with science and gadgets, to the friends who drew him to hiking, and, finally, to the brewing community that provided both support and friendly competition.

Beyond the Pale details Grossman's start, from homebrewing as a teenager, to becoming a skilled brewer, and, later, to building a small brewery in the town of Chico, California. It shares the business decisions that nearly broke him, yet eventually drove him to success. The sum total of his life provides the foundation of the "Sierra Nevada way," a company philosophy that emphasizes sustainability, nonconformity, following one's passion, and doing things the right way.

Since Grossman founded Sierra Nevada in 1980, part of a growing beer revolution in America, critics have proclaimed his beer to be "among the best brewed anywhere in the world." Beyond the Pale describes Grossman's unique approach, focusing on people, the planet, and the product. His story shows how, with hard work, dedication, and integrity, you can be successful in following your dream.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Beyond the Pale

"This is the creation story of the American Craft Brewing Renaissance. Ken Grossman and Sierra Nevada Brewery not only exemplify the fearless, entrepreneurial, creative, DIY ethos—they wrote the book on it."
—SAM CALAGIONE, founder and President, Dogfish Head

"In this fascinating book, Ken Grossman tells the tale of his brilliant brewing success with his inimitable charm and his famous humility. Those of us who were there watching Sierra Nevada's amazing rise to the heights can now savor the intriguing inside story. It's an American story of dogged persistence and brilliant creativity. This is business at its best and beer at its best—a great story that's true."
—FRITZ MAYTAG, Chairman Emeritus, Anchor Brewing

"Anyone who has enjoyed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has experienced, firsthand, Ken's commitment to brewing one of the finest beers in the world. Now, in addition to savoring Ken's delicious beer, we can enjoy the incredible behind-the-scenes story of its creation. Beyond the Pale recounts Sierra Nevada's journey from grassroots beginnings to astonishing success – and all the ups and downs in between. It is a story about following through on inspiration, leading with integrity, and the passion that is poured into making great beer."
—GARY ERICKSON, founder, co-owner, and co-CEO, Clif Bar & Company

"In my many years in the brewing industry, nobody has impressed or inspired me more than Ken Grossman. His tale is astonishing: how he rose from brewing in the proverbial bucket to being the genius behind the world's most beautiful brewery. Ken is a legend, yet remains one of the most unassuming people in the business. Quality attitudes, responsibility, fairness, and hard work with an underlying enjoyment in seeking the best: these are the attributes of the Sierra Nevada success story that Ken tells in this brilliant book."
—CHARLIE BAMFORTH, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences, University of California, Davis

"This is Ken's personal story of his path and the people and circumstances that have brought Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to the forefront of American craft brewing. It is rollicking and a fun story full of life and overflowing with beer wisdom."
—CHARLIE PAPAZIAN, author, The Complete Joy of Homebrewing; founder of the Great American Beer Festival and the American Homebrewers Association

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (August 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118007360
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118007365
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,989 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
This book is a great read, especially for anyone who owns a brewery or is looking to start one. Sierra Nevada's success is earned through decades of perseverance and Ken's recalling of all of the issues is just as informative as it is interesting. Thanks for your candor, Ken!
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Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this story. Sierra Nevada was the first "craft beer" I tried back in the mid 90's, and I still vividly remember my first "Bigfoot", which lead to me starting to brew. So for me, learning the story behind the beer was very personal and special.

Brewers, beer lovers, and Sierra Nevada enthusiasts will really enjoy this story. But it's a story of entrepreneurship and business philosophy as well. It also made me think about my business and my employees.

As you read it particularly towards the end open a Sierra Nevada and drink it while you read, the dedication to quality really comes through in the beer. For me that brings it all together!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading “Beyond the Pale” on a leisurely Sunday morning and only stopped when I had to be somewhere else. By then I had read 44% and perused all the photos at the end of the book.

In telling the story of his life and the history of Sierra Nevada, Ken Grossman comes across as a very authentic, likeable guy. He admits to being a workaholic who’s always searching for ways to improve. His money-saving DIY stories from Sierra Nevada’s early days are amazing. Very few craft brewers would be able to build a brewery using tanks from defunct dairies and pumps and pipes from salvage yards.

Grossman’s story is an entertaining and educational read for home and craft brewers, craft beer enthusiasts and business people. The book might get a bit technical for someone without some brewing knowledge, but Grossman does a great job of weaving in succinct explanations.

Hollywood: this beer story has all the ingredients for a terrific movie!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beverage most certainly deserves its story told !! I don't think I need to try selling Sierra Nevada's fine line of beverages to you ......... I imagine the only people reading reviews for this book are already fans of SN, and if you are, this is an interesting read !! the story behind all the twist, turns and obstacles that had been set in place to shape these simple beginnings into an astonishing passion for AMAZING beer !!!!

p.s.- if you've never tried a SN and are still for some reason getting reviews for this book ?? ... starting career in beer history, wanting beer books for a staged atmosphere, late night drunk AMAZONing ??? ill throw in a recommendation with my review - TORPEDO, Session IPA, Flipside / or / Celebration ( seasonal ), summer ale, HARVEST / or / Hoptimum !!!! You Cant Go Wrong..........
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a gift for a man who is thinking he wants to develop a small microbrewery...most microbrew books tell how to brew beer, but this one gives some excellent insight into how to start and develop the business side of the brewing. He's enjoying it a lot, and he says he's learning a lot from it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an awesome story! Being a local to Chico, I have grown up with Sierra Nevada. It was very interesting reading about how this brewery grew so fast. There were many sections that seemed to repeat themselves though. I would definitely suggest this for anyone interested in brewing history!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always been a fan of SN and picked this up before interviewing with the company for a job. As a fan I've undoubtedly taken the tour at the mothership in Chico and frequent the Torpedo Room in Berkeley, and this book offers a wealth of information beyond what I learned on the brewery tour. The book is well-laid out and read like part diary / part recollection, though there's a weird part two-thirds of the way through where Ken's voice gets a bit… I'll say it put me ill at ease when he discusses his relationship with a former figurehead of the company, which drags on for several chapters. And then when you get three-quarters of the way through it felt very rushed, like I was trying to be sold on a product and brand I already buy into.

Overall I enjoyed it, particularly the early history of Ken Grossman and the company leading up to some of the 20th St expansions. The first half of the book was fascinating and worth the read alone.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
His story reads like several other start ups. Was interesting how he solved the problems he encountered along the way. Like they say if you want to make a little money in the wine (beer) business, start with a lot of money. You will read this more as a business process book.
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