McCall, ID - A few days ago it came to our attention that Salmon River Brewery, located in McCall, had sold a share of its brewery to a private investor. That wouldn't be news, unless you are one of the 2,924 (source, census 2011) residents. Then again this is a beer news and reviews website, which is why it matters.
The private investor is none other than Adolphus A. Busch. But this isn’t what you think.
Fact is Adolphus is a seasoned traveler to small town, 100 miles north of Boise. And after visiting Salmon River a few times, while enjoying their beers, he decided to invest in the brewery. Now before you start screaming that A-B/InBev is scooping up another beloved member from the Brewer's Association we wanted to remind you of something, private investment.
Unlike a the recent acquisition of Goose Island from Chicago, this is not Anheuser-Busch / International Beverage purchasing a stake into craft beer. Instead this is a private citizen investing his own money to better the community through small business support.
Busch, namesake to the Anhueser-Busch brewery, but not affiliated with brewing giant AB-Inbev, discovered Salmon River Brewery while on vacation in the West Central Idaho resort town of McCall. Busch tasted their Udaho Gold on tap at a local restaurant calling it, ”the best beer I have tasted in over 25 years.”
"He always checks out microbreweries when he travels," Salmon River co-owner and brewer Matt Ganz says. "He loved our Udaho Gold when he tasted it, and he came in and said he wanted to talk about helping us grow."
"He's been very clear that he doesn't want control of the company," Ganz says. "He just wants to help us achieve our dreams of running a successful brewery."
More critically this still leaves majority (51%) with co-founders / co-owners Matt Ganz, Ellen Ganz, Matt Hurlbutt, and Jennifer, Hurlbutt. And the brewery is already putting this investment to good use through the acquisition of brewing equipment, kegs, and increased brewing capacity. In fact the expected growth will reach over 1000 barrels per year, up from its current output of 300 BBL.
Putting a bow around this story is the confirmation from Matt Ganz that Salmon River is still considered an independent brewery, despite its celebrity investment.
Be sure to stop into the brewery or grab a bite and wish Matt, Ellen, Matt, and Jennifer continued success in the years to come.
About Salmon River Brewery
Salmon River Brewery was established in 2008 by two married couples. Beaverton, Oregon natives Matt and Jennifer Hurlbutt moved to Idaho to study at Boise State University, and started a successful business as builders and real estate professionals that brought them to McCall. Home-brewers for seven years, they always dreamed of opening a brewery in McCall.
Spokane, Washington natives, Matt and Ellen Ganz, studied at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. They moved to McCall to achieve Matt’s dream of becoming a smokejumper, and Ellen started a successful real estate business. Matt had always had an interest in the beer business, as his great grandparents had started the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company, creating its regionally famous brand Rainier in the early 20th century.
Matt and Ellen Ganz approached the Hurlbutts, inquiring about renting their commercially-zoned building with the dream of opening a micro brewery. The two couples agreed to a partnership. To date the Matts have brewed nearly 50,000 gallons of beer. Thousands of people have visited their pub for its fresh beer, food and live music, and their beer can be found in restaurants throughout McCall, and in the nearby state capitol of Boise.