Natalie Cilurzo, co-owner of Russian River Brewing Co. joins Herlinda Heras and Steve Jaxon on Brew Ha Ha to talk about their plans for 2024.
2024 is going to be a big year for Russian River Brewing Co. First, it is their 20th anniversary. They opened on April 3, 2004, on 4th St. in Santa Rosa. They also released the first Pliny the Younger in 2005. The Pliny release dates are now March 22 – April 4. They do wholesale distribution on draft for retail customers in February, still.
Pliny the Younger is a super hoppy triple IPA, about 10.25% ABV. It started as a beer they made to drum up some business during the slow season. For several years they did this with no fanfare. But in 2010 people started communicating online, including at sites like RateBeer.com. The beer was rated one of the best beers in the world. Since then, it has grown into an international hit. For more about the 2023 Pliny the Younger, here is Natalie’s BHH podcast episode from last February.
They do no advertising and its success is 100% consumer driven and they only made two batches at the Santa Rosa pub, so probably about 60 kegs. They always remind their team how important it is not to take its success for granted. It’s on tap for two weeks, and people can buy a limited amount. It gets pretty crowded on weekends.
Natalie describes the base recipe of Pliny the Younger as Pliny the Elder on steroids. It uses a lot of hops but almost every year there is a tweak to the hops chosen.
Shadow of a Doubt
They taste Shadow of a Doubt seasonal porter. It’s 9.9% and is named after an Alfred Hitchcock film that was shot in Santa Rosa in 1943.
One final announcement, Pliny will be running for President again, Pliny for President and Blind Pig for Veep. On December 12, it will be released on tap and then it will be brewed quarterly through election season. Blind Pig Brewing Company was the name of Vinny Cilurzo’s first brewery, back in Temecula, California in 1994.