June 27, 2012

Who is Ritual?

Ritual Brewing Co. in Redlands, California was founded in 2012 by two guys with a true passion for great beer: Steve Dunkerken and Owen Williams.

A few years before the brewery was founded, Steve had invited Owen over to his place for a homebrewing session.  At the time the guys were loosely acquainted with one another and Owen politely declined.  Truth was that this industry veteran didn’t see the point in hanging out and homebrewing with a few plastic buckets.  A visit from the head brewer of a well-known San Diego County brewery lured Owen over to Steve’s place.  Once Owen saw what Steve was up to in his garage he went back for a few more brewing sessions.

At the time, Owen had recently left his long time gig as Director of Brewing Operations for BJ’s Brewhouse and Restaurants and dreamed of his own brewery but he was unsure about going it alone.  Steve had been asked many times if he ever thought about opening a brewery.  While it’s something that occupies a corner of most homebrewers minds it was something that didn’t seem practical to Steve – at least the part about hanging up a great career and venturing off on his own.  Together they had the right mix of brewing and business experience and a common passion for brewing great beer. It didn’t take many brewing sessions in Steve’s garage for these two to start creating Ritual Brewing Co.

The Founders  

Owen Williams has been a key figure in the emergence of craft beer in the last 20 years.  He was the first brewer for BJ’s and while growing the brewing operations for BJ’s he trained many award-winning brewers around the country.  He is a Certified Cicerone® and teaches Beer & Culture at The Collins College of Hospitality Management at California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Steve Dunkerken, a Redlands native, grew up on a small family farm not far from the brewery. He has been a creative homebrewer for 15 years and has been a speaker at the National Homebrewers Association’s annual conference.  He has a great deal of leadership experience in senior executive roles with a variety of manufacturing and distribution companies both public and private and spent time in several places around the world before returning to the local area.  He is a CPA and alumni of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

More on Ritual…

Ritual draws its name from a couple of things.  First is the brewing process itself.  From the mashing in of the grains to savoring the hop aromas as they waft from the brewkettle, the brewing process is a wonderful experience and a ritual in itself.  The finished beer is also very much a part of life’s little rituals. From a toast to a special occasion with friends to simply enjoying the end of a great day with a glass of beer, those rituals help  s celebrate the occasions that make for a life well lived.

The logo’s star is based on the brewer’s star which was the common symbol for a brewery dating back to centuries ago when much of the population could not read. Later in history, a single red star was sewn on California’s first state flag and remains there today as a symbol of independence.  Ritual celebrates the fact that it is an independent California brewery.

Spreading Great Beer!