Do things happen for a reason?
Josh Pfriem had been on this career path his entire adult life — soaking up brewing knowledge, devouring literature, concocting experimental varietals in his shed, biking across Belgium, professionally brewing, and knocking on the doors and picking the brains of some of the greatest brewers in the world.
It was a seemingly random introduction at a child’s birthday party in 2011 however, that allowed Josh, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner to form the brain trust that would eventually lead to the launch and rapid growth of pFriem Family Brewers. They shared a deep love of family, the Columbia River Gorge and of course, great beer — but more importantly, each brought his own unique skill set to the table, creating the means and vision to not only make great beer, but to operate a great business.
A year-and-a-half and thousands of hours of hard work later, in August 2012, pFriem Family Brewers opened its doors for the first time, and the three founders realized the beginning of their unique dream. If things do happen for a reason, then what better reason than to champion family, community and create one of the world’s best Premium Craft Beers to be enjoyed by all who love them? We can’t think of one.
Josh Pfriem grew up in Seattle, WA., where mountains, water and beer dominate the landscape. It should come as no surprise then, that Josh developed a deep appreciation of all three, leading him to post-college stints as a brewer at Utah Brewers Cooperative, and Will Kemper’s Chuckanut Brewery before landing at Full Sail in Hood River, OR. It was a bike trip through Belgium, knocking on the doors of some of Europe’s greatest brewers, however, that cemented Josh’s ambition to meld European and Northwestern brewing traditions to create his own signature brand. When not obsessing over pFriem Family Brewers’ 100-plus concoctions, Josh expresses gratitude for his friends, family, adopted home of Hood River, and the mountains, water, and beer that have given him the opportunity to be a part of something great.
Although born in the Switzerland of America (Colorado), Ken developed his affinity for well-balanced beer and time-honored brewing traditions while living and traveling in Germany and Austria. With degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering, Ken has done just about everything, but his happiest professional moments have come from helping to build pFriem Family Brewers while remaining true to the vision that started it all. He contends that there is only one thing better than cracking open an amazing beer, surrounded by people you love and that’s doing it in the midst of the Columbia River Gorge. Ken, his partner, and two children spend their free time exploring the Gorge on their skis, mountain bikes, and kite boards.
Being born in the former Czechoslovakia, Rudy was no stranger to the kind of mountains, lakes and rivers (and crisp beers) that are plentiful in his adopted home in the Columbia River Gorge. Armed with a technical degree and an MBA, Rudy has felt fortunate to enjoy a successful career in business, but nothing has been as rewarding to him as helping build pFriem Family Brewers from the ground up and being around so many talented people who are passionate about what they’re crafting. When he’s not at the brewery, Rudy enjoys hanging out with his wife and two boys catching trout in the beautiful lakes that surround Mt. Hood.
After over a decade of award-winning experience in the Northwest Craft Brewing Community, I finally achieved a life-long dream of opening my own artisanal brewery in Hood River, Oregon. This dream never could have come to fruition without the help of my two esteemed friends and business partners, Ken Whiteman and Rudy Kellner, and the loving support of our respective families.
Our goals for the brewery are modest ones— to build a business that was tightly integrated with our family lives, to honor the place we call home and love so dearly, and to create a warm, friendly space where others could experience our creations. Our goals for the creations themselves are anything but modest.”