Crafting a Revolution
Meet the pioneers behind the Central Coast's craft beer movement
Nestled along the southern entryway to Paso Robles you’ll find the home of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Famous for brewing beers like “805”, “Double Barrel Ale”, “Mind Haze” and “Union Jack” among dozens of others. What started as a quaint regional brewery has grown into an international icon of the craft beer movement. Founded in 1996 by Adam Firestone and David Walker, two brothers-in-law whose mission has always been the pursuit of the perfect beer. Respectively, the two bring together “Firestone” (a.k.a. The Bear) and “Walker” (a.k.a. The Lion) represented in the iconic logo. The bear is a nod to Firestone’s California roots while the lion celebrates Walker’s British heritage. With claws out, the two powerful animals represent the driving creative force behind the brewery since day one.
Meet David Walker, co-owner/co-founder, and Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster, of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Together, along with Firestone, they found the recipe for creating a craft beer empire while leaving their indelible mark on the brewing industry along the way.
The story begins 25 years ago in a rented barrel room at the Firestone family vineyard. It was here that the idea for Firestone Walker Brewing Company was born. The big-picture ideas they had were too large for this humble location and they quickly outgrew the space. Luckily for them, during that same time a local brewery became available on the market.
“Paso Robles was already embracing breweries at the time so when they opened their arms we grew into those arms in an extraordinary way.”
With the new location, along came Brewmaster Matt Brynildson – “a package deal” as he calls himself. Originally, he came to the area with plans to work for the SLO Brewing Company, but when the building sold he chose to stay with the brewery he had fallen in love with. For David and Adam, he was the perfect beer expert who arrived at the perfect time to transform young Firestone Walker Brewing Company and help it continue to take shape.
“Matt is the vision behind our beers. He's highly regarded, and an integral part of making our brewery a special place.”
At Firestone Walker, you’ll find more than just great beer. David calls it the “Wonka factor”, as in Willy Wonka. They’ve created their own world of beer in Paso; when people come to visit they get to see the process, taste the beers, get a smell of the brewery, maybe take a tour and see the brewhouse, then go across the road to the pub. They want to give back to the community by providing a sense of what a real brewery is like.
“We changed the world of beer along with hundreds of others at the time, and then thousands who followed us. American craft beer changed the way that the world looks at beer. Firestone Walker Brewing Company was a part of that revolution.”
25 years of Brewing
Firestone Walker Brewing Company is now the fourth largest craft brewery in California, serving up beers that stick to their roots. But they won’t stop there. Today, the dream team continues to strive for an even better beer, constantly looking for new ways to grow and evolve whether through sustainability initiatives, limited edition flavors, or new ways to share their story with the community. With their ever-present motto in mind, “Beer Before Glory,” they remain dedicated to great beer and great beer alone… the glory is just an added bonus.