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Sierra Nevada's Ken Grossman is without doubt the most important man in craft beer history. He was a passionate homebrewer but found buying hops hard as not many were available to hobbyists in the late 1970s. He drove all the way from Chico in California to Yakima Valley and begged the hop growers for a variety of hops. What they gave him helped change history, as his homebrews gained enough interest to help him found Sierra Nevada brewing company in 1980. He had to build the brewery himself, and dumped 10 batches of beer in pursuit of the perfect, consistent beer before shipping out the first Pale Ale. Thankfully, America's first hop-forward American pale ale was an unprecedented success. Decades later it's one of the biggest craft brewers in the world, still producing some of the best American styles ever made, and never losing a connection to its craft, experimental roots.