Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and his wife Katie Gonser recently presented UC Davis with a $2 million gift to support the campus’s brewing science program. The company immediately earned instant cool points to be used throughout the 2017 calendar year. The gift establishes an endowment to provide ongoing funding for a full-time staff brewing position, focused on excellence in hands-on brewing education in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology. The new Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Endowed Brewer position will be dedicated to mentoring and managing students and teaching assistants, maintaining the campus brewery and its equipment and assisting in teaching brewing classes.
Why this is cool
“This endowed brewer position will allow us to provide outstanding practical brewing experiences for our students as we continue to align hands-on training with the best theoretical education,” said Charlie Bamforth, the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences. “Students don’t get that combination in most other brewing programs.”
“My family and I have supported the brewing program at UC Davis for nearly two decades,” said Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing. “Charlie Bamforth is not only an expert in brewing science, technology and engineering, but a frequent guest speaker at our brewery and a close, personal friend. The ideals that he and the rest of the staff instill in the students are the very same principles that have guided our success in craft brewing for the past 36 years.”
And the first Endowed Brewer is…
The first Sierra Nevada Endowed Brewer will be Joe Williams, who brings considerable hands-on knowledge to the UC Davis brewing program, where he has been serving as a staff researcher.
In addition to fulfilling his teaching and brewery management duties, Williams will be involved as a liaison to the brewing industry for UC Davis and a host for visitors to the campus brewery.
Background on this relationship
The endowment for the brewing position grew out of a longstanding relationship between Grossman and Bamforth dating back to 1999, when Bamforth arrived at UC Davis to lead the campus brewing science program.
“Over the years, Ken has been incredibly good to UC Davis,” said Bamforth, noting that Grossman generously shares his expertise in commercial brewing with students. For many years he lectured three times each year in the Introduction to Beer and Brewing course and often hosts Bamforth and his students for tours of the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico.
“Our students have learned from Ken the true meaning of quality,” Bamforth said. “Everything at Sierra Nevada speaks quality, from the brewing itself to the company’s insistence on sustainable approaches to the process.
“Sierra Nevada is the ultimate in brewing excellence, and it is marvelous that they have demonstrated their commitment to UC Davis, where our mantra also is about doing things the right way,” he said.