Buyer assures little will change at Boonville's 23-year-old Anderson Valley Brewery

  • Production Manager/Brewmaster David Gatlin at the controls in the brew house at Anderson Valley Brewery in Boonville.

After 23 years of creating world renowned craft beer at Anderson Valley Brewery, Ken Allen is passing on his legacy to a new, younger owner.

Trey White, a former executive vice president of United States Beverage, said he plans to step quietly into Allen's shoes. Allen will remain as a consultant for four years.

White, 45, brings 15 years of experience in marketing and distributing beer and spirits. He said only the marketing end of the business will change.

Two silent partners will not be involved in the business, he said.

That comes as a relief to Boonville residents who for months have heard rumors that the brewery had been bought by a corporation that might relocate it. With 47 employees, the brewery is the one-street town's largest employer.

"They're not changing anything. That's a good deal," said Keith Martin, a lifelong resident and manager at Anderson Valley Market and Liquor.

Since opening his brewery in 1987, Allen has been at the forefront of the American craft beer renaissance. Now 70, he said, "It's just kind of time for me to stop. I've been there, done it."

Allen started brewing beer in the back of his Boonville chiropractic office in 1985, when he was 45. After two years, he opened Anderson Valley Brewing Co., one of just 20 craft breweries in the country.

"Six months later, we had 65," Allen said.

Now there are more than 1,500, said Julia Herz, a spokeswoman for the Brewers Association, the country's largest brewers association.

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