Women-owned Six Rivers Brewery reflects on 20 years of business in McKinleyville

For the past 20 years, Six Rivers Brewery has served as a community hub for McKinleyville.

Founders Meredith Maier and Talia Clare expanded on their love of beer and food, creating the brewery and restaurant.

“I just always liked the culture of beer. Beer brings people together and so it’s always been that craft beer scenes have always been about community and that’s what we’ve been about, so we’ve had the opportunity to donate to hundreds and hundreds of non-profits all over the county and the state,” Maier said.

Six Rivers has worked with countless local groups through pints for non-profits. Six Rivers is the second women-owned brewery in California, in a male-dominated industry.

“The beer industry has kind of always been a boy’s club and so I think its kind of cracking that glass ceiling per se and getting the women involved,” Maier said. “We’re really fortunate in Humboldt County as Barbara Groom led the way and showed that beer isn’t just for the boys, that it could be for women and ladies too. I think Talia and I take pride in joining her.”

The brews are made in-house with canners and labelers putting everything together for customers. An anniversary stout will be released to commemorate their first day. 

“Because we opened on March 17th, 2004, on St. Patrick’s Day, in true Humboldt County fashion, 4:20 in the afternoon, and a stout is a traditional beer on St. Pat’s. So every year on our anniversary, our brewmaster creates a special anniversary stout,” Maier said.

A lot of lessons were learned along the way to take them into the next twenty years.

“Collaboration is the key to success. Working within your community, rising up with other businesses, that kind of ‘high tide floats all boats’ mentality. I think learning to be a leader in the community. After twenty years, you learn a lot and are able to give back and work with programs through SBDC [Small Business Development Centers] and give a hand up to young entrepreneurs,” Maier said.

Six Rivers Brewery will have a family-friendly celebration on St. Patrick’s Day that begins at noon.

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