Firestone Walker Brewing Company
|Headquarters||Paso Robles, CA
|Owner||Adam Firestone, David Walker|
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is a brewery in Paso Robles, Central Coast California, and Buellton, California. The company utilizes a patented variation of the Burton Union system developed in England in the 1800s in its oak barrel fermentation process. Firestone Walker is California’s fourth-largest craft brewery and is known for producing hoppy ales. Firestone Walker, which was World Beer Cup Champion Brewery for mid-sized breweries in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2012, was the sixteenth largest craft brewery in the U.S. in beer sales volume in 2014.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company was formed in 1996 in Santa Barbara County by Adam Firestone, son of Brooks Firestone and great-great grandson of Harvey Firestone who started the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, and his brother-in-law David Walker. The brewery started on the Firestone family vineyard in Los Olivos, California and moved to Paso Robles in 2001. The company has expanded twice in six years. In 2001, Firestone Walker purchased former SLO Brewing Company located in Paso Robles and added 17 interior fermenters, four 500bbl exterior fermenters, a KHS keg line, and Krones bottling line. Firestone Walker later acquired Humboldt Brewing Company and changed the name to Nectar Ales in 2005. In 2006, its Firestone Pale Ale was named "Best Beer in America" by Men's Journal and in 2008, the company released Union Jack, an India Pale Ale. Firestone Walker began the Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Festival in 2011, which brings together select breweries from around the United States and other countries that do not distribute to the West Coast. In 2012, the company sold Nectar Ales to Total Beverage Solution.
In 2015, Firestone Walker partnered with Duvel Moortgat Brewery, a Belgium operated brewery known for their Belgian strong pale ale. The partnership allows Firestone Walker to operate independently and manufacture their own beers while expanding its production and distribution. Firestone Walker began canning beer in 2015, using a German-engineered KHS canning line built on the Paso Robles brewery campus that can produce and fill 400 cans per minute.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is one of two brewers in the world to maintain a variation of the commercial-sized Burton Union system, a system of fermentation in oaken barrels. The beers "oaky" taste is attributed to the use of 60-gallon (227 liter) oaken casks for fermentation in the early days of production. Firestone Walker opened a separate wild ale facility in Buellton, California in 2013, and formed a wild ale program, Barrelworks, which ferments and ages beer in used wine barrels from Paso Robles and bourbon, brandy and tequila as well as used barrels from Firestone Walker’s barrel-aged beer program. In 2014, Firestone Walker produced 151,000 barrels.
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