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TheStreet Open House

Sierra Nevada CEO Makes East Coast Beer Run

Will the East Coast brewery present a bit of a logistical challenge? Will it have some autonomy or will there be an attempt to coordinate between the coasts?

Grossman: Well we're sending a handful of people back to be involved in the eastern brewery.

It's not only my son, but we're sending back the head brewer and our logistics person who's been with us for a number of years ... We've already got someone on the ground out there working on the paperwork, community stuff and the building.

We're going to try to get as much as we can of Chico out there early on and our plan is to bring people back here from Asheville for a while as well. It's something that we have thought about quite a bit, so hopefully we'll be able to make the cultures mesh and work well together.

There won't be too much autonomy. They'll have some areas where they'll do their own thing and we'll do ours, but as far as production and shipping is concerned they'll stay coordinated.

I know the Chico facility has made a big commitment to sustainability that's included putting a solar array atop your brewing facility, using hydrogen fuel cells and carbon dioxide recovery systems and converting your trucks to hybrid power and biodiesel fuel capability. Will you be exporting some of those ideals to the East Coast brewery as well?

Grossman: Most definitely. We actually are the first people in the property that we'll be building on, so we've been able to set the standard for development. It's going to be minimum LEED Silver in the area surrounding our brewery and we're planning on being exemplary in doing a lot of the things we've done in Chico on the environmental front.

Have climate change and shifting grow zones affected your ability to maintain a sustainable brewery in Chico, and is it a factor you're considering in Asheville?

Grossman: We've done what we felt was the right thing to do, so we've put into place a lot of policies, procedures and internal metrics and invested pretty heavily in things like solar, our organic garden that we provide our restaurant with, our composting and our hop fields.

Will you have a local hop source on the East Coast or will you be shipping West Coast hops out there?

Grossman: Directly across the river from our site is the horticultural college at the University of North Carolina, and they're actually raising some hops there right now. Whether or not they'll actually be a viable crop, we'll see.

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