Information on:

Russian River Brewing Company


About Us:

Russian River Brewing Company (RRBC) was originally owned by Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, California and was founded on their historic and beautiful property amidst vineyards and redwoods near the Russian River. When Korbel decided to get out of the beer business in 2003, they generously offered the brewmaster, Vinnie Cilurzo and his wife Natalie the rights to the brand. Russian River Brewing might be something completely different now if it weren't for this incredible opportunity.

In the early days on the Korbel property, Vinnie not only brewed the beer, but made the sales calls and deliveries as well. Eventually they hired a sales/delivery guy to help with all of that so he could focus on brewing! Korbel planted a small hop field where Vinnie received a "field" education on growing and brewing with "wet" hops. It was from those amazingly fresh hops, grown just a few yards away, that he made his first wet hops brew, "Hop-Time Harvest Ale".

While the brewery was still operating at Korbel, the owner of the winery bought Lake Sonoma Winery at the top of Dry Creek in Healdsburg, California. There, they let Vinnie build a second brewery (adjacent to the winery) with its own tasting room and a million dollar view. The brewery at Lake Sonoma was only open for about a year, but Vinnie gained invaluable experience building a brewery from the ground up, and it was there that he started experimenting with beer in wine barrels.

On April 3, 2004, Vinnie and Natalie reopened RRBC as a brewpub in downtown Santa Rosa to great success and began self-distributing to nearby clients. In 2008, they opened a production brewery about 1 mile from their brewpub allowing them to triple production, take on more accounts locally, and distribute some beer in 4 more states.

As of 2012, RRBC employs over 60 part-time and full-time employees, and gives back to their community via charitable events such as their month-long Breast Cancer Fundraiser in October. The pub has become a community gathering place as well as a beer tourism destination. They also support local bands by hosting free live shows at the pub every weekend.

As it turns out, demand is still greater than the supply, but they prefer to grow their business organically while focusing on efficiencies and quality. For now, it is easier to make better beer than it is to make more beer!

The history of Russian River Brewing Company would be incomplete without a little background on the people who own it, operate it, and are passionate about their brewery and craft beer in general!


Anna Connell

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
This is a lively local brewing company in Santa Rosa. Their famous brews are Pliny the Elder. We sailed in from the back door and had cross lots of beer from hot and steamy customer’s body to get to the hostess. I get it, it’s a brewery. We asked for a table, we had to give a phone number so she can text us when our table is ready. On the text, if you want to find out how many parties are ahead of you, you need to download an app. Personally, that’s a little annoying. Once we got our table , we were reasonably cramped. We sat at the last table, next to the restroom. The waiter was very attentive though, so no complaints from the service point of view. I would advise them to have a better system for a table and maybe invest in a nice ventilation system.

Robert Hayes

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Great and friendly staff and a great atmosphere. I had ordered a sandwich and didn't get it for a very long time so I asked for a refund and they gave it to me with no problem AND gave me the sandwich. The food is very good too! Definitely would recommend!

Matthew Kohen

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
It felt like I was eating and drinking in high definition. World class beer and world class food.. I spent some time trying to think of a complaint, but cant. Had the magnum calzone and it was spectacular. The meats were spicy and the cheese so gooey. People flying in from all over just to eat and drink here. Interesting crowd, fascinating conversations over complex beers. Thank you for an amazing experience.

Meghan Whirley

Sunday, April 15, 2018
Russian River is well worth the trip up to Santa Rosa- even if you come up just for this! Everyone feels the allure of the Pliny, but the truth is it’s just one of a long, and great, beer selection. The food is delicious (get a pizza!), service good, and vibe relaxed. Prepare to wait for a table, but grab a beer at the bar while hanging out, and you’re good to go. Pick up a growler for a super reasonable price and you can enjoy Pliny (or Blind Pig, or Dribble Belt....) at home!

David Pedersen

Thursday, June 28, 2018
Amazing beer! Was excited to visit the birthplace of Pliny the Elder, and it did not disappoint. Their selection of Belgian Sours was fantastic. Food wise, we only had cheesy bread and even that was great. All in all excellent!

Russian River Brewing Company is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media