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Chico State Alumni Association

Wildcat Connect Webinar | Craft Brewing

craft brewing webinar

View recording for the craft brewing webinar | January 28, 2 p.m.

Topic: Craft Brewing Industry

Panelists: David Favela, Border X Brewing; Ken Grossman, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.; Alicia Barr, Fifty Fifty Brewing Co.; Joshua Leavy, San Francisco Brewing Co.

David FavelaDavid Favela ('92) is a native born San Diegan and a  first generation American, born to Mexican immigrants. Favela started Border X Brewing in Barrio Logan, a historic Latino community that had been economically depressed for over a decade. Border X is the first wholly owned Latino owned brewery in San Diego, and has been a catalyst for a grass roots driven Barrio renaissance, with dozens of new, community owned businesses established and flourishing. Border X was selected as “Best Brewery Start-up” by Brewbound magazine in 2016 and in 2020, Favela was nominated for the prestigious James Beard Award. After completing bachelor degrees at Chico State in history and economics, Favela went on to get his MBA from UC San Diego, School of Global Policy & Strategy. In 1992, he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Princeton University. Before starting Border X Brewing, Favela worked at HP for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including Supply Chain, Business Development and Global Business Manager for HP Education. 

Ken GrossmanKen Grossman is the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., one of the first craft brewers in the country. Among Grossman's early brews was Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale, which is still its bestseller. Today, the Chico-based company is one of America's largest craft brewers, producing close to a million barrels of beer each year. To keep up with growing demand, Grossman built a second brewery, located in Mills River, North Carolina. Grossman is a passionate supporter of higher education, and has previously been a guest-teacher and presenter to student groups and business fraternities at California State University, Chico; the University of California, Davis; and Butte Community College. He received the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award from the Chico State College of Business in 2004 for his commitment to providing business students with an exemplary educational experience. In recognition of his outstanding success, community service and support of higher education, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Chico conferred to Grossman the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Alicia BarrAlicia Barr ('96) is currently the President and Chief Experience Officer of Truckee Craft Ventures (TCV), which includes original brand FiftyFifty Brewing, along with Old Trestle Distillery and Drunken Monkey Sushi. Barr went to work at Hewlett Packard before starting TCV in 2007 with her husband Andy. Now, the brand that builds on epicurean experiences has shifted to meet more pressing needs in an age of COVID-19, transitioning the distillery, Old Trestle Distillery, into producing hand sanitizer for the community. Barr is a Chico State track and field alumna, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1996, and a master's in mechanical engineering at Stanford. 

Josh LeavyJosh Leavy ('03) is founder and brew master of San Francisco Brewing Company's massive, 12,000-square-foot location in Ghirardelli Square. Leavy graduated from Chico State in 2003 with a degree in business and emphasis in marketing. His passion for brewing beer began while spending time at a local Chico brewery doing research for an entrepreneurship class. After settling back into his hometown of San Francisco, the desire for brewing never subsided. He started making beer on the stove-top of his kitchen and shortly thereafter created his own brew tower in order to create larger more complex beers. In 2012, after working many years in the technology sector as an account executive, Josh decided to make his passion for brewing his career and launched San Francisco Brewing Co. In 2018, Leavy was among more than 1,400 breweries from across the country and beyond who pledged to brew and sell Sierra Nevada's Resilience in support of Camp Fire victims.