Ken Grossman knows his hops.
As the president, owner and master brewer of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in Chico, Calif., he can also provide details on all there is to know about running a world-renowned craft brewery—and then some.
Like how there are 31 gallons to a barrel, 15.5 in a keg, and that in 2010 his 500-employee company produced 800,000 barrels of beer for distribution across the United States and parts of Europe—from San Francisco to Copenhagen. And in 2011, Australians will finally get a chance to say "cheers” to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, too. While the company recently celebrated 30 years of success—with nearly 30 different brews—Grossman’s vision from day one has always been refreshingly simple:
"To make distinctive, cutting-edge styles of beer. We never had the mission to be the largest, but we wanted to be one of the top-quality breweries in the country. So we focused on that,” said Grossman.
Beer drinkers across the country also toast Grossman for tapping into several forward-thinking green initiatives for Sierra Nevada, including the use of 11,000 solar panels (producing 2 megawatts of power each day); on-site composting of the brewery’s food waste; and employee incentives to commute via bicycle. Not to mention the fact that the brewery’s seasonal Estate Ale is brewed using freshly harvested estate-grown barley and organic hops. Turns out, Sierra Nevada is one of the few breweries doing something like this in the entire world.
Quality products and innovation? Enter: Kubota Tractor Corporation.
In August 2010, when it was time for Sierra Nevada’s organic hops harvest, Grossman and Sierra Nevada’s Agriculture and Landscape Supervisor, Lau Ackerman—who were both fresh off a trip to the hops farms of Germany to gather best practices and purchase highly specialized, state-of-the-art hops harvesting equipment—decided it was time for an overall upgrade on the home front, too.
Gone was the crew’s former means of harvest and transport; namely, an old Ford pickup truck. In its place? A shiny new Kubota M7040, a much better fit between the narrow rows of hops.
"Really, it’s about simplicity, durability, efficiency and speed,” Ackerman said. "We had a Kubota when I used to work for California State University, Chico, and I liked it a lot. Kubota tractors are straight-forward, industrial and built to run.”
With the help of the 71-horsepower M7040, Ackerman and his crew shaved an entire day off the harvest and greatly reduced the need for volunteer estate workers.
"One guy is on the tractor now instead of roughly 12 people in the field,” he said of the brewery’s nine acres of organic hops—the largest harvest of its kind in California.
It turns out Grossman, owner of a rural 30 acres near his brewery and restaurant, also owns four other pieces of Kubota equipment thanks to a 12-year partnership with the crew of Industrial Power Products, a certified Kubota dealer in Chico and the largest tractor supplier in Butte County.
"It’s a local company, I’ve known them since they got started over there, and I like dealing with these guys,” Grossman said.
So while the M7040 is hard at work at Sierra Nevada, you might also find Grossman landscaping his property with the help of his Kubota mower; tackling the terrain in a RTV900; or riding high aboard his very own L5740.
"I operate all of them on my own. It’s a blast to grade a road,” he said.
And while Kubota helps the master brewer revolutionize the world of beer and maintain his own wild frontier, Ken isn’t the only Grossman who enjoys our equipment—turns out his wife Katie is a fan of Kubota orange, too.
Ken recently gifted her a RTV900 as a Christmas present. The Grossmans now own two of the vehicles.
"It was a surprise. I got her the turbo,” said Grossman. Rob Rice at Industrial Power Products even helped wrap the RTV in a giant red bow.
"But now when I go to drive it, she says, ‘That’s mine.’ She’s got two now, I have none,” said Grossman with a smile, adding, "But, she knows I buy that stuff for myself anyway.”
Kubota Tractor Corporation
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