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Craft beer as a family affair


This weekend is Father’s Day, which means most of us are probably going to send a card, pick up a phone or be there in person as dad unwraps that new tie or sleeve of golf balls. But for some in the beer industry, Father’s Day is another opportunity for sons to get together with their dads and wash out tanks, reexamine the budget and double-check inventory—simply, because there are quite a few father-son breweries churning out fantastic beer. Let’s take a look at just a few:

Rogue Ales
Before founder Jack Joyce started Oregon’s Rogue Ales, he had already clocked in a successful career at Nike (and was there during the famous Air Jordan campaign). Today, he operates the 22nd-largest craft brewery with son and company president Brett Joyce.

Sierra Nevada Brewing
Brian Grossman was born into the beer world: His father, Ken Grossman, founded the now seemingly ubiquitous Sierra Nevada in 1980. Brian was instrumental in creating BRUX Domesticated Wild Ale—a collaboration with Russian River—and is currently general manager of the new production brewery being constructed in North Carolina.

Figueroa Mountain Brewing
This father-son team set up shop in Buellton, Calif., in 2010 and has since scooped up awards at numerous international beer competitions and the Great American Beer Festival. Father Jim Dietenhofer and son Jamie believe success “starts with building a culture that is focused on always improving and never feeling complacent with mediocrity, always striving to better yourself and your business every day.” Which is sound fatherly advice.

Avery Brewing
Founder Adam Avery made his brewery famous thanks to powerfully hoppy brews and sophisticated wild and wood-aged creations. His father, Larry Avery, was with him every step of the way for the first 16 years. Retired in 2009, Larry is now referred to as—fittingly—the brewery’s “first retiree.”

Eagle Rock Brewery
When Eagle Rock opened in 2009, it was the first brewery in 60 years to set up shop within L.A. city limits. At the helm are Jeremy Raub, his wife Ting Su and his father Steve Raub, who like all great fathers is also known as “Mr. Fixit.”

Kona Brewing
This business venture is nothing short of a success story. Father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa launched Kona in 1995. The brewery later partnered with the Craft Brew Alliance (which includes Red Hook and Widmer) and is now the 9th-largest beer company in the United States.

Boston Beer Co.
Although not a father-son team, Boston Beer Co. does have a significant paternal story: The brewery’s flagship Samuel Adams Boston Lager is based on a family recipe originally created by founder Jim Koch’s great-great-grandfather Louis Koch in the 1870s.

These are just a few of the many notable father-son teams in the craft beer industry. Which family across the country brews your favorite beer?


Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at

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