From Designer to Brewer

April 22nd marks the 46th annual celebration of Earth Day. Here at Mohawk, environmental commitment, social responsibility and corporate stewardship are woven into the fabric of our culture and business practices, and we believe the origin of exceptional craft lies in exceptional materials. So, over the next several weeks, we’ll take a closer look at many of the talented artisans, craftspeople and makers featured in past issues of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly who choose only the highest quality, sustainable materials for their products.

Today we highlight the Almanac Beer Company of Northern California, a  brewery dedicated to producing  unique seasonal artisan ales with ingredients sourced by local farms.

It’s not everyday that a brewery is spawned from the mind of a graphic designer. But the rare combination came to fruition in 2010, when the Almanac Beer Company was founded by Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan.

Their aim was to specialize in the very best, and unique farm-to-barrel seasonal ales, or as they call it, ales“ brewed specifically to complement local cuisine sourced and prepared with the same great care and craft.”


Perhaps Almanac benefits from the mind of a graphic designer, where every element is carefully considered to create the whole. Fagan has taken that mindset to help establish Almanac as a brewery of highly specialized materials. “Our beers are defined by the materials and ingredients, used to create them,” Fagan tells us. “If they are flawed, the beers reflect that. We work very hard to source our ingredients locally, from growers and producers with the same obsession for quality. Our goal is to deliver a drink-able form of California’s vast agriculture bounty in every bottle we produce.”

Each season, Almanac teams with a different Northern California farm to use specific fruit for their specific brews. Every beer is a collaboration, a creation totally unique to its season and locale, brewed and bottled only once.


We helped a local grad student harvest a full acre of barley he grew on the Stanford University campus with simple kitchen knives because there was no other way to get it done,” Fagan mentions of just how specific Almanac gets. “The uniqueness of the barley’s flavor profile was worth the effort. That one acre of barley inspired a specific beer and we made a handful of kegs with it—and that was it—the ingredients drove the entire project.”

Almanac is one of many brewers in Northern California, but their mission and background make for one of the most specific visions in the craft brewery market; how to take the creative power of design and build a passionate product. “Design, to me, is simply storytelling. The stories we tell define our values, our intentions, our histories, our outlooks and our purposes. If they’re authentic, dynamic and compelling, people pay attention. If they’re not, they’re ignored.”


This article was originally published in Issue 02 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly. The Mohawk Maker Quarterly is a vehicle to support a community of like-minded makers. Content focuses on stories of small manufacturers, artisans, printers, designers, and artists who are making their way in the midst of the digital revolution. Learn more about the quarterly here and sign up to receive future printed issues.

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