"After 34 years at Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, I retired from the Chico, CA brewery in June 2017. Over the years my responsibilities included the humble positions of sheet rock repair specialist and primitive packaging wonk, and grew to the point where I managed a staff of 45 people in three production areas, Brewhouse, Cellar and Filtration. Because my career spanned from the beginnings of the Craft Brewing Industry through its phenomenal growth over the past decade, I have a unique and in depth perspective on the production of quality beers. Collaboration with my fellow brewers has brought me an appreciation for the quality and diversity demonstrated by the passion of the craft. My mission in retirement is to share my experience and knowledge with others."
Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Biology and Chemistry
California State University, Chico, 1980
University of California Davis (Intensive Short Course in Brewing 1984-85)
Siebel Institute (Microbiology and Yeast Management 1995)
Master Brewers Association (since 1988)
American Society of Brewing Chemists (since 1991)
Brewmaster, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (1983-2017)
- Raw materials procurement and quality validation
- Extensive brewing, formulation and product development
-Yeast Propagation, Cellaring and Fermentation
- Filtration Management
- Beer sensory and quality assessment/lab management
Judge, Great American Beer Festival & World Beer Cup (2000-2017)
Recipient, Russel Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing (2015)
Recipient, Knight of the International Order of the Hop (2017)
Steve's Personal Life
Steve was born in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1957; his parents relocated the family to California when he was three. He graduated as valedictorian from Calistoga High School in 1975 and attended Biola College for 3 years. Transferring to Chico State in 1979, he shortly began home-brewing with 2 buddies and their girlfriends. After graduation and a stint painting airplanes, Steve showed up at the old Sierra Nevada brewery on Gilman Way on a day when the bottling crew was short-handed and went to work hand packing cases.
Steve was raised in a conservative Christian household that frowned upon drinking; it took a few years for his parents to accept Steve’s career path. The common refrain was, “When are you going to quit the beer and get a real job?” As time went by his father came to realize that the beer business wasn’t going away and that he actually liked the crisp taste of a cold Pale Ale on a warm summer day. During Don’s last few weeks in hospice care he often asked for a few sips first thing in the morning, to which his daughter would gently agree to, offered up via straw.
Steve and his wife, Cathy have been sweethearts for 38 years. They have two halfway decent children, Isabel and Anton.