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Stories from the valley

Farm to foam: 3 surprising facts about Ruhstaller beer

Contributed by Jennifer Harrison

Ruhstaller, a Sacramento Valley based beer, is tied to this region in more ways than one.  Here are three facts that make Ruhstaller a truly local beverage.

Downtown Taproom Picture

Architecture and history help

Blame it on a building.  JE Paino, the proprietor and founder of Ruhstaller beer was walking to his job in real estate development in downtown Sacramento and noticed the name Ruhstaller etched in a building.  Having studied architecture at Princeton he spotted these things.  Curiosity and research led to his discovery that Sacramento used to be the beer capitol of the US, and Ruhstaller was a big player in the beer industry.  Prohibition changed all that, and the beer industry all but disappeared from this region.  Paino had innate desire to bring the beer business back to the Sacramento Valley.

Pics Hops

Fast growing

Ruhstaller grows their beer.  Or hops that is.  Along highway 80 in Dixon the green hops can be seen growing up vertical bines, (yes bines, as opposed to grape’s vines).  Hops can grow up to a foot a day when temperatures reach over 100 degrees according to Paino.

je in field

Sacramento Valley’s soil, combined with abundant, long summer days and cool nighttime Delta breezes make this area a perfect place to grow hops.

The local industry is fast growing too.  When Paino started there were eight Sacramento Valley based breweries, now there are over fifty.

farm hands

Burlap Buddies

Burlap, a hearty, woven material accents many a Rustaller bottle.  This is more than decoration; it’s a nod to the fact that hops are picked and stored in burlap sacks. The burlap is also eye catching.

“When we put non-burlap and burlap bottles in the grocery store, customers always grabbed the burlap bottles,” said Paino.

In the beginning, Paino and other employees would painstakingly hand wrap the bottlenecks with burlap themselves, which proved to be very time consuming.

Enter Pride Industries.  The Sacramento based organization, which creates employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and a partnership was formed.  Employees at Pride Industries are now the ones responsible for that burlap on Ruhstaller beer.