NorCal Brewing Solutions
You might say homebrew is an obsession that flows through our veins.
Like many obsessions, this one started as a hobby, inspired by an Alton Brown episode aired on Food Network.
Jay Webster is an electrical engineer by trade. After watching the Alton Brown episode, Jay (aka “Jaybird”) was bit HARD by the beer brewing bug.
After a few stints brewing extract batches Jay went “all grain”, and the Jaybird False Bottom was born.
After posting pictures of his false bottom in action on HomebrewTalk.com, Jay received many “can you build me one?” requests from forum members. The answer was always “Of course I can!”.
Jaybird’s false bottoms proved themselves to be tough and efficient (watch the YouTube video), quickly developing a cult following that’s still strong today.
Jay’s electrical engineering prowess drove him to design a fully automated half-barrel electric brewhouse. He is most happy when tinkering with homebrew electronics.
Victor Hnyp (aka “Sir Vix-a-Lot”) has been a software engineer for 30+ years, with stints at Apple Computer, National Semiconductor, and a whole slew of freelance work throughout the Bay Area.
Victor’s favorite life story centers around how he accidentally (mis)programmed a manufacturing robot at Apple, with an ensuing embarrassment while showing off his work to Steve Jobs.
Victor specializes in developing business plans, and loves to automate any process through software – the epitome of a computer geek!
Jay and Victor met at “Venture Island” – a venture capital funding competition held in Redding, California in 2008.
Besides having engineering backgrounds, the two realized they had a much bigger thing in common:
They both loved craft beer.
Victor didn’t know it was possible to brew beer at home until Jay taught him how to do it. In return, Victor convinced Jay to “go pro” with his hobby of selling false bottoms.
In 2010 Jaybird quit his electrician’s day job, teamed up with Victor, and NorCal Brewing Solutions was born.
The rest, as they say, is history!
NorCal Brewing Solutions started as a tiny little corner homebrew store in Redding. First in-store sale was September 1, 2010 (no, we didn’t frame a $1.00 bill with the customer’s signature, darn it!)
Although small, the store quickly became popular with local homebrewers and winemakers. The front section offered a wide variety of hardware and supplies. A tiny back area, nestled between pallets of grain, housed the shipping station for online sales of hardware and false bottoms.
In 2012 a local strip mall owner offered a killer deal to Jay and Victor, and convinced the duo to move the company to an 8,500 square foot space in a prime location.
Wow! The shipping area alone was larger than the entire previous store!
Jay and Victor thought they would never fill such a huge space! (If you are ever run into them ask them about the upstairs “False Bottom Emporium” and the “Pole Room” ;-)
With a nicer location, expanded space for much more variety and selection, the company grew into one of the largest homebrew stores on the west coast.
A separate, 1,000 square foot shop was leased in a manufacturing zone half a mile from the main shop. The manufactured product line grew from false bottoms to stir and mash paddles, yeast harvesters, wine cap punch down tools, and other “pro level equipment” adapted to the homebrew level.
Cracks in the Mirror
Growth comes with growing pains. Period.
More room meant more grain, more yeast, more hops, more customers, more employees, more worries.
But most importantly: less time.
Less time for doing what the founders REALLY loved doing: Designing and marketing cool products online!
Add a Natural Disaster
The Carr Fire - a 229,000 acre wildland fire - hit the Redding area in July of 2018. 38,000 people were evacuated. Over 1,600 homes and other structures were destroyed.
Fire smoke filled the air for weeks. People stayed indoors, and didn’t venture out unless they absolutely had to.
Businesses were closed for many days due to lack of employees, electricity, and other factors.
But in the aftermath of the fire, walk-in traffic dried up. Many businesses couldn’t take the financial hit and were forced to close.
NorCal Brewing Solutions was lucky. Even though walk-in traffic slowed to a trickle, online sales kept the company going.
Although Victor’s house sustained damage (many neighbor’s homes were completely destroyed) his brew system was spared. Other homebrewers in the area weren’t so lucky. In addition to participating in local food and water drives, NorCal Brewing Solutions spearheaded an online donation drive to help local homebrewers replace their equipment.
The Redding community came together to help each other like you can’t imagine.
Hopefully, no one reading this ever goes through a natural disaster.
But if you do, your priorities will change. You will stop and reevaluate many aspects of your life. Guaranteed.
That is what happened with Jay and Victor, and NorCal Brewing Solutions.
You re-evaluate your priorities. Your passions. Who you are, who and what you love, and what you love DOING.
Back to our Roots
Although it took the better part of a year in the aftermath of the Carr Fire, Jay and Victor realized what they love DOING is why they formed NorCal Brewing Solutions in the first place:
“To bring pro-level technologies to homebrew-level brewers, wine makers, and distillers, with fast shipping and stellar support”
To execute the Mission properly takes a laser focus on research, design, engineering, marketing, shipping and support. There’s no room for distractions.
That is why in March, 2019 NorCal Brewing Solutions made the decision to get out of the “homebrew store” business of selling yeast, hops, carboys, and other supplies.
We are now based in a 3,500 square foot manufacturing facility in an industrial park near the Redding Airport, and we are laser focused on our Mission!
Changes to the Web Site
For years, online customers have praised the layout, array of product offerings (especially our wide selection of hops) and ease-of-use of or online store.
Transitioning from several thousand online products in dozens of categories to a “laser focused” hardware and solutions providing web site is going to produce some “bumps in the road”.
As we “shrink” the web site you may find we no longer offer certain products, links that go nowhere, missing pictures, or other anomalies. Please bear with us while our web site engineers do their site modifications.
Rest assured that the shopping cart, search function, credit card processing and security, and all other areas of the site are unaffected.
We are offering discount pricing on hundreds of items that we will no longer carry.
These items can be found in the SPECIALS! link in the main pull-down menu.
Sorry, close-out items cannot be returned.
Hours of Operation, Contact Information
As mentioned above, we are no longer a walk-in homebrew store.
Orders placed online can be picked up (without a shipping or processing fee) at our manufacturing / warehouse location:
NorCal Brewing Solutions
8865 Airport Rd. STE H
Redding, CA 96002
For a limited time (until the homebrew supplies are sold out) we will continue to accept walk-in traffic. $20 minimum walk-in purchase please.
Our Phone Support, Delivery, and Order Pick-Up Hours Are:
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am- 5:00 pm Pacific Time
Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED
Call us: (530) 243-2337 or (530) 221-9463
eMail us: Sales@NorCalBrewingSolutions.com