Bear in the News

  • peter_smallerIt wasn’t Peter Kruger’s intention to become a sustainability expert at Bear Republic Brewery – but then, it wasn’t really his intention to get involved with the commercial craft brewing industry at all.


    Back in 1992 when Kruger graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR with a history degree, he had his sights set on a Master’s program in Archaeology at Boston University.


    An avid home brewer with a keen interest in the emerging craft brewing movement, Kruger decided to take a year off from his studies and support himself through a job at Full Sail Brewing Company in Portland.  When the “clock ran down,” as Kruger puts it, after his year deferment, he realized he very much wanted to stay in the beer business.


    Kruger didn’t make his way to Bear Republic until 1997 after a series of positions with other brewing operations that included Head Brewer at Desert Edge Brewery in Salt Lake City. He stayed at Bear Republic for two and a half years, before taking what he calls a “six year hiatus” to do consulting.

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  • Healdsburg, California. You’ve gotta hand it to beer geeks who have the balls to set up a brewery in the heart of wine country. We pull in front of Bear Republic, a pilgrimage-type destination for thirsty grownups, just in time to crash the brewery’s annual cellar party, where beers headed for the judges’ mouths at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver are on tap. Some of these beers are made in such small batches that only one cask exists, which makes a glass a sort of priceless commodity.

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  • Bear Republic Brewing Co. is a family owned business founded in 1995.  Rich and Tami Norgrove have been working alongside Sandy and Richard Norgrove Sr. since even before that first day.  The family visited every brewery from Canada to Mexico along the west coast, visited trade shows, and scouted potential sites for their brewery together.  The family dinner table at which the business plan was written over twenty years ago now serves as the meeting table in the conference room of their 152 employee business.


    Brew Master Rich had apprenticed at Marin Brewing Company to learn the trade.  He was originally heading down a path as a graphic designer.  In the beginning, he was the only full time employee doing both the brewing and the marketing while everyone else kept their day jobs.  Tami had a non-profit and environmental career, and Richard Sr. had worked in logistics for Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. and was a Navy veteran.



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  • It’s all too easy to shrug off faraway disasters—until they hit home. And by home, we mean your neighborhood beer joint.



    After quietly exiting various state markets in the past several years, California’s Bear Republic Brewing is saying goodbye to the Lone Star State—for now. It’s a last-ditch effort in a long and respectable fight against one of the worst droughts California has ever seen.



    “Water is California’s liquid gold right now, and we have to become better stewards of that resource,” says Brewmaster Richard G. Norgrove, referring to the additional conservation efforts recently proposed by the governor. “We’re running more efficiently than most because of where we’re located. It’s something that we have to do to manage the resources.”



    In Bear Republic’s case, that means the Cloverdale aquifer, Lake Mendocino and the Russian River, whose increasingly dry banks have spelled devastation for the brewery.




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  • SANTA ROSA — Bear Republic Brewing CEO Richard Norgrove borrowed a line from rock ‘n’ roll singer Huey Lewis when he said, “I never knew it took so long to be an overnight success.”


    Speaking to a crowd of 400 at the Sonoma Craft Beer & Spirits Conference on Friday at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel & Spa in Santa Rosa, Norgrove was referring to the 15–20 years it took to build his business. He pointed to figures that show craft beer is having a huge impact on the economy in Sonoma County.



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  • Sonoma County’s craft brewing industry continues to chug along as its overall economic impact reached $170 million in 2013, a 25 percent increase from the previous year, according to a survey released Friday by the county’s Economic Development Board.


    The growth mirrors a national trend that is upending the $100 billion beer industry as younger consumers ditch domestic stalwarts such as Budweiser, Miller and Coors and embrace more flavorful brews that offer an artisanal feel, with some top names produced locally.


    The results were provided at a conference held Friday by the Economic Development Board on the local beer, cider and spirits industry, which is making a mark for itself in the heart of Wine Country. That was evident as the halls of the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel featured all sorts of people looking to do business with the new guard of brewers, ranging from bankers at Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase & Co. to bottle companies and engineering firms.


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  • An Enphase®-equipped photovoltaic (PV) system was installed at Bear Republic Brewing Co.’s Cloverdale, Califonia facility. Both the 30.2 kilowatt (KW) rooftop solar array and a second, soon-to-be-installed 136.6 KW canopy system feature Enphase M250 American Pride Microinverters assembled in Milpitas, California.

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  • When evenings dim and the weather takes an autumnal turn, thoughts turn to darker, heartier beers. But a recent shopping trip for Bay Area stouts turned into a bit of a treasure hunt. Stout’s suffering, I’m told, because beer drinkers just want “hops, hops, hops.” Fortunately, the four stout ales I did find exemplify the variety and quality of this plucky category.

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  • In taking in Sonoma County as a destination compared to Napa Valley, you’ll notice that it’s almost opposite to their eastern neighbors. While there are two main roads that tourists can traverse to visit tasting rooms in Napa, Sonoma is spread out over a greater land mass. While tasting rooms in Napa can have a very glossy and meticulously designed theme, many tasting rooms in Sonoma are a bit more stripped down and casual. While powerful red grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate along Napa Valley, Sonoma features Pinot Noir and Chardonnay amongst their vines. The experience in Sonoma County makes for a more leisurely and decidedly different vacation to Napa and is one that any wine lover should put on their travel itinerary.Let’s take a step back and examine Sonoma a bit. There is a bit of nomenclature consideration when talking about Sonoma. First of all, the city of Sonoma is on the south end of Sonoma County, which is also a part of the Sonoma Valley AVA. And there is also the sub-appellation, Sonoma Coast AVA (yes, it’s confusing). So when we’re taking about Sonoma, it’s about the greater whole that the wine-growing region of Sonoma County encompasses.

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