Natalie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing Company
Natalie started her career in the alcohol beverage industry at just 16 years old working weekends in a small winery in Southern California. After moving to Temecula, California, in the late 1980’s she met this guy named Vinnie whose lifelong dream (at 20 years old) was to open his own brewery. In 1994, Vinnie founded Blind Pig Brewing Company with which Natalie was involved at arm’s length while working in the wine industry and going to college full-time. In 1997, Vinnie and Natalie moved north to Sonoma County where Vinnie began working for Korbel Winery’s new brewery, Russian River Brewing Company. Natalie continued advancing her career in wine with Kendall-Jackson, Franciscan, and Silver Oak Cellars. After 5 years in the beer business, Korbel closed the brewery and, in lieu of severance, gave Vinnie and Natalie the Russian River Brewing brand name. Natalie left the wine business to join Vinnie and opened a brewpub in Downtown Santa Rosa in 2004 with no money in the bank and 28 employees. In 2008, they opened a production brewery and began distributing in a handful of markets outside of Northern California. Between the 2 breweries they now produce 14,000 barrels annually and have reached full capacity. Natalie oversees all operations of the business including the brewpub, human resources, finances, marketing/PR, sales/distribution and whatever else needs to be done. She also signs Vinnie’s paycheck! The brewery now employs 75 people and they are self-distributed in the North Bay and Bay areas. In addition, they have wholesale partners in other parts of California, Oregon, Colorado and Philadelphia. Natalie is Co-Owner of Russian River Brewing Company with her husband of 18 years!
Chris Cramer, Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Chris Cramer has been making beer in paradise for a living since 1989 when he and his business partner, Matt Rattner, co-founded Karl Strauss Brewing Company, the first new brewery to open in the city of San Diego in more than 50 years. Since then, Chris has enjoyed continuously pioneering in San Diego’s craft brewing industry, opening the city’s first distributing brewery in 1991 and over the years adding five more brewery restaurants. While their operations have focused on the local Southern California home market, Karl Strauss has grown to become one of the top 50 craft brewers in the United States. Chris takes particular pride in having introduced many Southern Californians to their first craft beer and in the fact that the DNA of Karl Strauss Brewing Company runs throughout the San Diego brewing industry; a number of his friends and former teammates have branched off to follow their own brewing dreams, making the San Diego craft beer scene a much more fun and interesting place to work and play.
Joyce Turner, Mammoth Brewing Company
As COO & Co-Owner, Ms. Turner heads-up Mammoth Brewing Company’s operations, wholesale sales and facilities infrastructure planning. Day-to-day, she is responsible for production planning, self-distribution, supplier contracting, outside distribution, compliance with all applicable laws, vendor & customer management, vehicle & equipment management, southern California sales and is a member of the Executive Team responsible for the overall performance of the company. She is on the MBC board of directors, holding the office of Secretary, and a board member of the California Craft Brewer’s Association [CCBA] where she serves as the Secretary/Treasurer.
Ms. Turner is also a licensed civil engineer in the State of California having spent many years in heavy civil design and construction throughout the State, in city redevelopment & capital improvements and in major real estate development, all of which has positioned her to effectively develop efficient operations, systems and future production capacity to support the growth of Mammoth Brewing Company.
Lynne Weaver, Three Weavers Brewing Company
Lynne Weaver is the Founder and CEO of Three Weavers Brewing Company, a craft brewery in Inglewood, CA. As Founder and CEO, Lynne leads all aspects of the brewery, including operations, finance and sales.
As a former homebrewer, Lynne loved sharing her beers with family and friends. It was at these gatherings that the importance of the relationship between beer and community came to light and the idea for a new craft brewery was born. Rooted in the mission to promote a positive sense of community through her passion for craft beer, Lynne founded Three Weavers Brewing Company in 2013.
In three short years, Lynne has cultivated and guided the growth of Three Weavers, forecasting 2017 production of 12,000 BBL’s and expansion of the Inglewood brewery and its team.
Before founding Three Weavers, Lynne held designations as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Enrolled Agent (EA) with the IRS and was the Lead Real Estate Tax Consultant and Accountant for a Real Estate Tax Consulting firm.
With a growing brewery, Lynne remains committed to the brewery’s mission to build community and leverages her financial planning experience and expertise to provide counsel and guidance to management teams of local craft breweries.
Lynne lives in Los Angeles, with her husband, Jonathan Weaver, and their three daughters (aka the Three Weavers). Lynne received a BA in Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Brian Hunt, Moonlight Brewing Co.
Brian Hunt has been in the in the industry since graduating with a B.S. degree in brewing in 1980. After a stint with the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, he worked for many of the earliest microbreweries. In 1992, he finally started his own Moonlight Brewing Company, running it entirely by himself for 15 years, and focusing on hands-on quality instead of the maximization of sales.
Mike Hess, Mike Hess Brewing Co.
Mike Hess, CBO of Mike Hess Brewing, is a 1990 graduate of the University of Colorado, with a BA in Economics. He started homebrewing while a Navy officer stationed in Philadelphia in 1995. Fifteen years later, while running his own financial services firm, he launched San Diego’s nano-brewery, and the region’s #33. In 2013, he commissioned a 30-bbl production brewery in North Park, the region’s first urban brewery. Now employing 52 team members, MHB has grown to three locations, is San Diego’s 11th largest craft brewer, distributed in three states and is respected as a brewery making great beer. His wife Lynda is the brewery’s COO and they have three children.
Adair Paterno, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales
Adair Paterno is the co-owner and co-founder of Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, which opened in Capitola, California in May 2012. Adair manages various aspects of the brewery’s daily business operations, including reporting and compliance, tasting room management, label and package design, and all financial and administrative matters. Prior to opening the brewery, Adair practiced governmental and real estate law in and around the greater Bay Area. A craft beer enthusiast for almost half her life, Adair feels grateful to work in an industry and with the people she admires.
Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Ken Grossman founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. in 1980, with the goal of providing his customers with the kind of beer he likes to drink. He is known throughout the beer industry for his uncompromising approach to quality, financial savviness, and firm belief that a rising tide lifts all boats. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is a steadfastly family owned and operated business, run on Grossman’s philosophy of environmental, social and economic health. Grossman recognizes the challenges in today’s beer marketplace, but remains confident in the continued expansion of craft.
Patrick Rue, The Bruery
Patrick Rue is the Founder / CEO of The Bruery, a craft brewery located in Orange County, CA. Patrick began his beer journey as a homebrewer while in law school, and shortly after graduation traded his Juris Doctorate for a mash paddle. He is committed to improving the craft beer landscape, as he has benefitted from the hard work of the craft beer pioneers before him. His recent service within the craft beer industry has been establishing the Orange County Brewers Guild, working with several other specialty craft brewers in establishing an organization to promote legislation to allow interstate sale and shipping of beer direct to consumers, serving on the Brewers Association Government Affairs Committee, and also as a Brewers Association subcommittee member of the Federal Excise Tax Reduction Bill (Small BREW Act). He also recently became the 9th Master Cicerone® in the world, and the first in Southern California. Patrick is married to his high school sweetheart, Rachel, and they have a daughter, Charlotte.
The Bruery of Orange County, CA has grown from just a few hundred BBL’s of production in its first year (2008), to approximately 10,000 BBL’s in 2015. The Bruery prides itself in being an innovator in the craft beer community, where achieving remarkable and unique flavors are a constant goal, where approximately 50% of its production is aged in wood barrels for over a year, and where a significant portion of production is sold directly to its most avid customers through its membership clubs: Preservation Society, Reserve Society, and Hoarders Society. The Bruery proudly employs 60 beer loving people.