Ken Grossman from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is today’s guest on the Brew Ha Ha podcast with Steve Jaxon and Mark Carpenter, with Herlinda Heras also on the line. Steve asks Ken to describe how Coronavirus has affected them.
Ken explains that they shuttered their restaurants, tours, gift stores and events operations. They are trying to remake their business by doing take-out food in their restaurants and they are doing other things to keep their people on staff. They are selling beer online at their website.
They are also trying to help in the local community. Two weeks ago the local hospital reached out saying they were having trouble finding a PCR machine for Covid-19 testing. They have a sophisticated laboratory and do PCR sampling daily on their beer as part of their QC, to look for wild yeast or bacteria or other potential contaminants in their beer. When he found that one of his instruments could be useful to the hospital they were ready to ship it, but at the last minute they didn’t need to. However they did find a need to test culture mediums that their highly specialized lab staff could contribute. They got a procedure from the CDC and have made more than 10,000 vials of solution so far. Ken has learned about the science from having to approve expenses for Sierra Nevada’s testing lab, over the years. They have had requests from many quarters for assistance.
Mark Carpenter calls in from Petaluma, where he has been staying during Coronavirus confinement. He has been riding horses and staying away from people. Mark doesn’t keep a lot of beer around since he prefers it fresh. He wanted some yeast to do some baking, and yeast was out in the stores. So he asked a brewer friend for some yeast and he tried to make English muffins.