Chico, America, RON discussed on How I Built This
And And I was transferring to Chico State and We connected and go river since all right. Katie will factor back into the story later on and we just mentioned here that she met her and I think to day does not drink alcohol. She's a teetotaler right. Okay okay important. Important point to note the The third largest craft brewery in America Founder wife doesn't drink. Okay all right you Katie. seventy-three your cash. Because your baby you're like eighteen years old It's Great. I mean you were so young and I guess I I guess you You got a job in that area. Iran Chico to tackle oroville managing a bike shop For a while. Yeah I had Ma Fbi parents got divorced You know I didn't get a lot of support. I think I got a one hundred dollars a month Go go into school and so I had to keep working so I kept a part time job as I went to school and then Eventually I I got the opportunity to go manage One of the bike shops the owner and Chico had recently purchased in the talent word Bill. And so the two of US got a dinky little one room house Sort of in the foothills of or bill and I ran that shop for a few years and our daughter was born. Sierra and Born at that House et home we had Albert gets home. Birth and then I had a neighbor who loved my homebrew and convinced me that I should open up. A Homebrew supply store. And it's your neighbor Ron. And what was his name? Jesus Jesus okay. So he's your neighbor. And I guess just pointed that you are like twenty twenty one still home brewing presumably. You've gotten better over the five years six years you've been doing it and you Most people probably in nineteen seventy six seventy five or drinking like a mass produced beer right in America. There raises like the Big Budweiser. Most people drank. Yeah it was pretty much the approaching the low point of the. Us Brewing Industry. The the breweries that had survived prohibition that you know the family owned regional breweries were in very difficult place with trying to compete with the national brands and so the the beer industry was consolidating very rapidly. Through the really since prohibition but fifty sixty seventies hundreds and hundreds of burris went out of business and it got down to write about the the year we started in one thousand nine hundred eighty for the bringing for the brewery got down to the low point of forty three independent. Us amazing that included the biggest end. The small amount of small brewers that hung on there. So but going back to this time in the mid seventies right brought like one ron to Jesus when your neighbor like when you met him he would have before he met. You just normally been drinking like budweiser probably or want one of those people. I'm probably not even anything that expensive so You know again. We were young and didn't have a lot of money so we were probably drinking. Buckhorn and the Spring beer out of maier burned company and in Los Angeles. I mean there were a handful of cheaper beers that were probably what our age group would be drinking and these were not high quality beers. It's just like They were certainly not interesting beers. I got you okay. All right I mean the. Us bring industry has had a history of making you know generally good quality products but they're not necessarily products that have a lot of character so he he meets you and your brewing this beer and what was the style of the beer. You were brewing at home I I was probably fairly advanced by that time so I was doing a little bit of roasting my own grains in the oven and Sprouting my own week to make wheat beer and and so I was pretty experimental and at that point my wife and I were sort of back to the landers we had A small her two goats We had chickens We were making cheese and Bacon Brad and so Making beer sort of fit into our lifestyle. So your neighbor Ron says. Hey you're you're disappears. Great you should Sell it And I guess that's sort of what I from what I understand. It's sort of inspired you to open up a like a home brewing business like little shop or you could sit like supply. People is that is a right now so we found a little teeny building in an in what had been an old downtown hotel and Chico that was being converted into a bunch of little shops and studios and so for. I don't think it was about sixty dollars a month rent. We could rent this little room. And it was just a bare shell which we ended up doing all the woodwork. And finishing up turning into just a little shop you know next to us was a potter and a used record shop and jewelry store and a little teeny antique store and just a bunch of little artists and crafts and shops up there sound so idyllic especially from from two thousand twenty where we couldn't we couldn't pay the rent some months and so we worked out a deal where we'd be the janitors for the for the Place and Lou grant so Getting night did that. For couldn't you couldn't sell sixty bucks worth of homebrew supply was You know we could tell. Sixty dollars would be really big day but out of the sixty dollars you made maybe twenty and then you had to pay the lights and share a little bit of money to take home and so now. We didn't make a lot of money. Homebrew supplies and and what were homebrew supplies in nineteen seventy six So it was you know. Malt Syrup primarily Although we were pushing and and teaching classes and trying to get people to actually grew from grain which is the back to the beginning of the process you buy malted barley which is barley that's been soak sprouted in germinated and dried a monster and that creates the base for then converting the the Maldon sugars and then sugar boiled with hops. And and so we stocked hydro meters and Crocks and tubs to Bruin Glass car. Boys submits the beer beer. Here's here's what I'm wondering candidate in in the late seventies right. This is still a subculture like like craft brewing today. Right like half have had the staff of how I built. Us GOES TO CRAFT BREWING festivals. Right like it's just a very cut mainstream thing. Every bar worth its salt has craft brews on tap or in bottles right in nineteen seventy six. This is a this is a subculture of people like like like dungeons and dragons. Yeah so I'm just trying to understand something because obviously you proved everybody right but when people said to you can't this is just like gross. I don't what what do you like about this. Why do you like the taste of this? What would you say well Yeah there was. No Knowledge of craft beer and homebrew was You know not necessarily viewed in a positive light and and you know bay sort of on what most people had tasted if they ever tasted homebrew. It was highly alcoholic Acidic in look murky and Which today is and again but back then beer was supposed to be clear and so most people were pretty put off by it but I made pretty decent beer and I started to have a following of friends who wanted my homebrew. Well what did you like about it like a? Here's that's what I wanted to like when I talked to somebody who resilient to why right. There's just a the complexity and the different flavors and the it's almost like It's like it's like somebody who's WHO's really interested in in like mysteries there. They love the nuances. Is that what beer was like for healing making it harder but I think was the allure of the alchemy You know just the ability to take things such as disparate as you know a bitter leaf off a plant but the hop and the sweet malt from barley and eastern sort of see that magic happen of of converting those basic raw ingredients into something that has lots of nuances in character and flavor and can bring joy and social setting and So I think the process was as intriguing as the finished product. Because in then late seventies it would have been unusual taste right like our taste. Buds were not attuned to you. Know Multi hoppy beer. No they weren't and You know I don't know what percentage of my friends actually liked the beer. The that told me they did but I'm sure it was off pudding for the majority.