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Sierra Nevada Founder Grossman Becomes Billionaire on Pale Ales

Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman.

Sierra Nevada founder Ken Grossman.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Ken Grossman is working the taps. Clad in a trucker cap, blue jeans and Keen sandals, the 60-year-old is doling out samples of Hoptimum and Harvest Single Hop, two imperial pale ales made by his Sierra Nevada brewery. For many of 3,300 people who’ve paid $65 to attend the Portland, Maine, beer tasting with 117 breweries, Grossman’s the star attraction.

“It’s an honor to meet you,” says a brewer from Newington, New Hampshire, reaching the front of the line.