The Kulturhaus Story
One day many years ago, saddled up to the bar at Russian River Brewing Co’s downtown pub, Jen was talking pickles and sauerkraut with a friend when they were approached by Eric. This mutual friend introduced Eric, as he was just getting off of his shift in the back of the house, where he was the lead brewer. Jen invited him to attend her monthly fermentation classes that she organized to teach the community how to ferment food at home.
Fast forward a few months, Jen and Eric had developed a close friendship founded on a love of microbes and decided to take an afternoon trip to a meadery on the coast. On the drive out to the coast, conversation about Jen’s dreams of owning her own fermentation-centric business got Eric thinking. Confidently, Eric proclaimed: “we will go into business together.” And Jen laughed.
Amused by his confidence and determination, Jen entertained the conversation of the two of them opening a brewery and pickle house of sorts, chalking it up to fun banter. However, as the months went by, these two found themselves spending hours together creating all kinds of fermented concoctions and beverages. The seed was planted and was beginning to take root. They signed up for the Business of Craft Brewing program through Portland State University, and the name and vision for “Kulturhaus” was born.
The meaning of this word in German is used to describe a “society house” or cultural center that is dedicated to a variety of leisure activities (art exhibitions, theater, music, lecture series) or a place for groups to meet to fraternize and generally have a jolly good time. Jen and Eric loved the phonetic connection to “cultured” foods/drinks as well as the desire to celebrate that all cultures (societies) have practiced fermentation in some way.
In addition to teaching fermentation all over Sonoma County, Jen had also founded and operated the Sonoma County Fermentation Festival and worked to support local artisan producers in their launches and product expansions as fermented foods became more popular. Over the years of marketing and supporting these companies, she developed a love for telling the story of how and why traditionally crafted foods deserve a place in everyone’s home.
As a commercial brewer for 15 years, including 10 years at Russian River’s downtown pub, Eric had honed his ability to create consistently delicious craft beer. Prior to his years of brewing, he had managed the front of the house for Russian River and worked in bar management for many years. One thing he hadn’t done yet was create his own recipes on a commercial volume scale. In 2017, Eric was contracted to create the initial 6 recipes for a start up brewery, and then the plot twist came when this brewery offered Jen a job as director of marketing.
In 2018, they packed up and drove across country to open the doors and support the first year of business for a “farm to fermentation” craft brewery in Southern Georgia. Working to develop, brand, market and sell craft beer from a 30 barrel production facility in the Deep South, Jen and Eric got their feet wet in the craft beer business together.
Originally from San Luis Obispo, Jen convinced Eric to return to the Central Coast in their search for the right spot to open Kulturhaus. In 2020, with a newborn son in tow, they stumbled upon the location at 779 Price Street in Pismo and immediately felt excited about the challenge to build a brewery in this relatively intimate location. After renovating the kitchen with new floors and walls and designing a custom 5 barrel brewhouse for this location, Kulturhaus has made their home on Price Street and will be brewing soon! In the meantime, the current 12 taps are flowing with an awesome selection of beer and cider from Northern California and the Central Coast. Cans and bottles of kombucha, hard seltzer and wine are available as well.