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Innovator Article

Ruhstaller Beer
A New Point of Brew

By Marianne Skoczek

Jan-Erik Paino MBA 09 began brewing the idea for a new career when a New Business Development class project led him to delve into first Sacramento’s history—and then its beer.

The founder and proprietor of Ruhstaller Beer, one of a new batch of craft breweries in the capital region, Paino credits his UC Davis MBA with the experience and network to successfully resurrect a local legend.

“From the Gold Rush until Prohibition, Sacramento was the beer capital of the West Coast,” Paino says. Dominant among the city’s dozen breweries was Ruhstaller, founded in 1881.

Today, four decades after the original Ruhstaller brewery closed its doors, Paino and his team—which includes Liz Harris MBA 09 as project manager—are on a mission to bring back Captain Frank Ruhstaller’s legacy.

“In many ways, Ruhstaller’s rebirth began at the Graduate School of Management,” Paino says. “Liz’s husband introduced me to craft beer our first year, and Liz and I collaborated on a number of projects as students.

“Later, the School’s MBA Consulting Center completed a very effective project for Ruhstaller. And Charlie Bamforth—UC Davis’ Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of malting and brewing sciences and one of the world’s top brewmaster generals— has been generous with his insight, advice and support.”

“At Ruhstaller, we wear many hats and need to switch gears rapidly,” says Harris. “The Graduate School of Management gave me a great foundation to handle the varying roles I fill on a day-to-day basis.”

Photos courtesy Scott Duncan/Midtown Monthly