Eel River Brewing Co.

By Shauna Carter

Eel River Brewing Co. is located in the small town of Fortuna, California, along the banks of the Eel River in the middle of Humboldt County.  Built on the site of the historic Clay Brown Redwood Mill, in the heart of the redwoods, the brewpub, owned by Margaret Frigon and Ted Vivatson, sports a 30 foot long bar made entirely from recovered historic redwood and Douglas fir. The restaurant serves up generous portions of pub fare, seafood, and organic beef raised by Ted Vivatson.  The brewpub features the largest beer garden on the North Coast, seating nearly 100 people, complete with a horseshoe pit.

Eel River Brewing Co. is unique for its commitment to handcrafted, traditional, organic craft beer.  In 1996, a loyal customer asked Ted to make him a “naked” beer, without all of that added “stuff” in there.  The brewers set to work and produced their first organic beer, and in 1998 they joined with California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and became one of the first certified organic brewery in America. 

Just down the road from the brewpub, in Scotia, CA, Eel River Brewing Co. has a dedicated brewing facility.  The brewing facility is unique for its commitment to organic, handcrafted, traditional beer styles, and in keeping with tradition the brewing facility is also a reclaimed redwood lumber mill.  Eel River Brewing Co. believes in sustainable practices, and the brewing facility is powered by 100% renewable energy, using bio-mass power.  The brewery is always looking for new opportunities to improve its sustainability practices.

The brewery distributes 8 year-round styles and quarterly seasonal organic craft beers to 26 states and Mexico.  Since inception, Eel River Brewing Co. has garnered over 190 national and state awards ranging from gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Festival and the California State Fair to Best of Show at its own Humboldt County Fair.

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