Russian River Brewing Co. was started, in 1997, by the Korbel Champagne Co.. They hired Vinnie Cilurzo as brewmaster and when Korbel decided brewing beer wasn’t for them anymore Vinnie and his wife, Natalie, bought the brewery. That was in 2002. Russian River now consists of a 20-barrel brewpub and a 50-barrel production brewhouse located in Santa Rosa, Calif.. That 50-barrel brewhouse was updated earlier in 2015 with new equipment. Not bigger equipment, just newer equipment, so don’t expect to start seeing Russian River beers pop up in new markets.
It is arguably the most famous, sought after, talked about and otherwise storied brew of this proverbial craft beer renaissance. Spanning a full decade this beer has won two bronze and three gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, as well as, being voted the number one commercial beer in the world by the homebrewing publication Zymurgy for six years straight. That's right, I said six years straight. It is also credited with spawning the immense popularity of the double India pale ale—or imperial India pale ale—style.