Jackson Family Wines Proprietor Launching Sonoma County Craft Brewery

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Christopher Jackson at the Saratoga Race Course (credit: Christopher Jackson via Facebook)

Christopher Jackson, whose father Jess Jackson created the well-known Kendall-Jackson wine label in 1982 and built a global wine empire before passing away in 2011, is in the process of constructing a 25,000-barrel craft brewery to open this summer in California’s Sonoma County.

In an interview with Brewbound, Jackson described his new $8 million Seismic Brewing Company project, which will be located at 2870 Duke Ct. in Santa Rosa, Calif., as an independent venture. The name, Seismic, was actually purchased from San Diego’s Rough Draft Brewing Company earlier this year, he said.

“It is a passion play,” he said. “I am the sole proprietor and it is my project going forth, but we are employing a lot of similar philosophies from my wine background.”

Jackson is still an owner of the Jackson Family Wines business, one of the 10 biggest U.S. wine suppliers, with annual revenues of more than $500 million.

A carryover philosophy from the wine business will be a commitment to sustainability.

“We believe we can put out a beer that we are proud of and is world class, and do it in a sustainable way,” he said.

Seismic partnered with Cambrian Innovation, a provider of wastewater solutions to industrial producers, to install an onsite water treatment and reuse system called the EcoVolt Mini.

“We have the opportunity to be the most water efficient brewery in the world,” he said, noting that the company has a goal of using just 2 gallons of water for every gallon of beer produced.

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Cambrian’s EcoVolt Mini

Including water used for cleaning tanks and rinsing bottles, most breweries use about about 5 gallons of water to produce every gallon of beer. But Cambrian’s EcoVolt technology will allow Seismic to recover spent brewing water and will remove contaminants and solids that would otherwise render the water unusable, even for non-brewing processes.

Other Sonoma County breweries using similar EcoVolt machines include the well-known Lagunitas Brewing and Bear Republic operations.

“In California, water risk is high, and businesses have a unique opportunity to go green while saving money,” Cambrian Innovation founder and CEO Matthew Silver said in a press release.

In addition to beefing up its sustainability initiatives, Seismic also attracted brewers from well-known California craft outfits such as Firestone Walker and Anderson Valley.

Andy Hooper, the former director of brewery operations at Anderson Valley, and Christian Toran, who previously brewed at Firestone Walker and worked for four years as a wastewater technician at Anderson Valley, have joined the Seismic team.

Seismic will have an initial brewing capacity of 8,000 barrels, Jackson said, and plans to focus on draft-only productions until it installs a canning line.

The company hopes to be operational by September.

“I think Santa Rosa is becoming a craft beer Mecca,” Jackson said. “And we really want to be a destination spot. We believe that we will be, if we do everything the right way.”

Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that Andy Hooper and Christian Toran were still working with Anderson Valley and Firestone Walker, respectively. Both individuals have left those positions and are full-time employees of Seismic Brewing.