After nearby wildfires forced Sierra Nevada Brewing to temporarily cease operations at its Chico, California-based production facility over the weekend, the craft brewery has resumed making beer. The country’s third-largest craft brewery also announced the creation of a fund to help those affected by the blaze.
The so-called “Camp Fire” is now the most destructive wildfire in California history. To date, it has claimed the lives of 42 people, destroyed more than 6,000 homes and wiped out thousands of other structures. More than 200 people remain missing, and the fire has scorched about 125,000 acres of land. At last word, the blaze was only 35 percent contained, with fire officials hoping for full containment by the end of November.
Sierra Nevada spokeswoman Robin Gregory told Brewbound that the company made the decision to shutter the brewery and evacuate employees after areas near the facility were being ordered to evacuate.
“Human safety was our paramount concern,” she wrote in an email.
On Friday, Sierra Nevada posted jarring photos of a wall of flames on the horizon away from its headquarters. The fire came within a few miles of the brewery, but Gregory credited firefighters with keeping it out of the Chico city limits.
Nevertheless, Gregory said the fire has displaced more than 10 percent of Sierra Nevada’s Chico workforce and several other employees still do not know if their homes have been destroyed.
“For short-term needs, we are actively working with our employees and outside groups to get them to resources they so urgently need, as well as assessing immediate needs and taking care of them internally whenever we can,” she wrote.
Additionally, Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman and his family have established the Sierra Nevada Camp Fire Community Fund via the Golden Valley Bank Community Foundation. The family has donated $100,000 to the fund, and they’re hoping to raise more money to give to organizations dedicated to rebuilding communities affected by the fires.
Donations can be made via this link.
“We appreciate the tremendous amount of support and compassion shown from folks around the world” the family wrote. “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.”
Sierra Nevada also reopened its pub Monday evening in order to provide free meals to first responders and residents displaced by the fire. The company will donate meals throughout the week and is also offering clothing to those in need.
Despite the weekend shutdown, only a small amount of Sierra Nevada’s shipments have been affected, Gregory told Brewbound. She added that “only minor adjustments” are needed to service the brewery’s customers.
“The brewhouse is ramping up today to get inventories back to normal,” she wrote. “If necessary, our Mills River [North Carolina] facility is ready to increase production, but we don’t anticipate that need.”