Since November 1 1987, Rubicon Brewing Company has been a jewel of a capital city culture. It’s not just because of the award-winning fine ales and great food served up by the Rubicon. Within the past four years, under the auspices of owner Glynn Phillips, the Rubicon has become renowned for its community outreach and philanthropic efforts. It’s support for Sacramento kids and various people in need that has transformed the Rubicon into a vital cog of Sacramento life.
“This pub is part of the community, and I don’t just mean geographically,” said Phillip. “It’s important for us to give back as much as we can to show our appreciation. I really feel like we’re connected with the people and that they can trust that they’ll feel at home here.”
“We’ve gone through so many different phases during my time here, but we’re very happy with things right now,” he said. “There is a lot of hope for future and expanding our business. We hope to double our capacity and get more of our products in bottles and more of a market presence — not too huge but bigger than we are now. I’m certainly very proud to work for a place that has been around so long and has its place in history. We are not the new kid on street. I tell people how long I’ve been at the Rubicon, and I hear people say, ‘Wow, that’s impressive.’”
In some ways, the transition from founder Ed Brown to Phillips was more than a decade in the making. Brown had known Phillips since the 1970s as the good friend of Brown’s nephews in the Bay Area town of Moraga. As Phillips paid his dues in the craft brewing industry – first at Great Basin Brewing in Sparks, Nev., and next at Marin Brewing in Larkspur – Phillips kept in close contact with Brown. Buoyed by his management experience at Marin Brewing, Phillips was confident that he could handle the passing of the baton at the Rubicon.
Since then, Phillips has embraced Sacramento like an old friend. “It has been really good to me.”
Today there are more than 1,600 breweries that dot the American landscape. In fact, numbers suggest that the average American lives within 13 miles of a brewery. To say the industry has grown in the past twenty years would be a gross understatement; it’s exploded and today is one of the most vibrant and flourishing parts of the American manufacturing industry. How much have things changed in twenty years? Consider this: of the 1,679 brewers in operation*, only 74 were around in 1990. Among those was Sacramento’s own favorite, Rubicon Brewing Company (which was in its third year of operation in 1990).
In addition to its place in beer history, Rubicon has hosted a number of “interns” for the American Brewers Guild and UC Davis – brewers that have gone on to successful brewing careers of their own. One such brewer is the owner and brew master at the hip new joint in Auburn, The Auburn Alehouse, Brian Ford.