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The details make all the difference. We believe that the small stuff is important because if we pay attention to that, it’s a given that the big picture is well looked after.
As the mission-critical aspects of our Mills River brewery begin to wrap up (i.e. brewing and bottling beer) we’re focusing on what will turn this from a production facility into an experience.
When designing the new brewery, it was important for us to reflect our location and make sure the brewery building fit into the landscape. Also top of mind was paying homage to the rich brewing history that preceded us. We’re making those ties with a few conscious material choices, namely the use of salvaged wood, copper and brick, around the brewery.
Copper in particular has always been a hallmark of Sierra Nevada. Our east side brewhouse in Chico is made entirely from copper. In 1983, it was saved from a defunct German brewer and shipped to the U.S. where we’ve used it continuously since 1987. While not copper at their core, our newer west side brewhouse in Chico and our Mills River brewhouse are both clad in the shimmering metal.
While the brewhouse is the brewery centerpiece, copper is playing an important part of the aesthetics elsewhere.
All across the brewery we’re using copper detailing as a reminder of what this project is all about–a visual cue that we’re brewers, first and foremost. There is no easy or quick way to handle the copper. Each delicate piece is shaped and placed by hand. Stretching across the front of the building, the eaves, dormers and gutters are clad in copper. Along the brickwork there are copper rails and seams. In the brewhouse itself, copper gauges, dials and other details honor the art and craft of brewing.
Copper is unique as a building material; over time, it will age and patina, adding a new layer of character. It’s a nice allegory for Sierra Nevada, really. As we settle in and our first steps become full strides, our initial shine will soften. We’ll nestle gracefully into this beautiful landscape—subtle, unmoving, and striking all at once.