California Camp Fire Impacts Brewing Community

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View from Sierra Nevada Brewing. The Camp Fire is now the most devastating wildfire in California history. (Sierra Nevada)

The deadliest and most devastating fire in California history continues to ravage within the Central Valley county of Butte, about two hours north of the capital, Sacramento. Having destroyed at least 7,000 structures and claiming the lives of 44 residents, the Camp Fire is one of more than a dozen fires burning out of control in the north and south of the state.

Butte County includes the city of Chico, home to Sierra Nevada Brewing. While the brewery itself has not been damaged, the same cannot be said for the craft brewers’ family and staff, many of whom have lost homes to the Camp Fire.


On Sunday night, Sierra Nevada posted on social media that they had chosen to close their pub in Chico in part to allow their employees to focus on their own well-being. “Many of our employees, friends and family-members have been severely affected by the Camp Fire. We have started the process of identifying and establishing long-term community support and look forward to rebuilding our beloved home. We are in this with you and will get through it together,” the brewery said on social media.

Elsewhere in Chico, Secret Trail Brewing has remained open as a beacon to support their community, closing briefly due to smoke on Friday. The brewery continues to offer words of support and compassion to their fellow residents despite the uncertainty that they likely have.

Facebook post from Secret Trail Brewing.

The Sierra Nevada pub reopened Monday night to offer free meals to first responders and displaced members of the community. They also offered the clothing in their tour lobby to those in need.

Through the terror and uncertainty, the Grossman family, founders of Sierra Nevada, addressed the outpouring of support, writing, “Even though we are all living moment to moment trying to figure out who is safe and if our homes have been spared, the beauty of the human spirit still shines through.”

The Family-owned brewery, famous for their iconic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, has created a fund that they have seeded with $100,000 to help the victims of the fire and the eventual rebuilding of lives. To donate to the fund, you can go to the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Relief, and select “Sierra Nevada Brewery.” Money donated will be redistributed to partner organizations that are dedicated to rebuilding and supporting the communities that have been affected, once the fire has been put out.

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“We appreciate the tremendous amount of support and compassion shown from folks around the world,” write the Grossmans. “With the brave men and women risking their lives fighting this fire and the outpouring of support from communities near and far, we know we are on a path to healing and rebuilding.”

Our hearts go out to all of those affected by wildfires in California. So many people can use your support, please help however you can.

Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association's acting editor-in-chief for Andy is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Westminster, Colorado where he is an avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on is fully dedicated to small and independent U.S. breweries. We are published by the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers. Stories and opinions shared on do not imply endorsement by or positions taken by the Brewers Association or its members.