Mad River learns to pay the toll

Mad River Brewing founder Bob Smith loves living in Humboldt County, but it does pose unique challenges for his brewery.

With restrictions on the length of trucks that can travel in and out of the county, Mad River is forced to ship its products out on 48-foot trucks, only to have the loads re-packed onto the 54- or 56-footers that serve the rest of the country. These changeovers add dramatically to shipping costs, limiting the microbrewery’s ability to reach other markets.

”It’s like being the shortest guy in a basketball game,” Smith said.

The Times-Standard in Eureka profiles Smith and the brewery. He started homebrewing in high school and was inspired to open Mad River after buying homebrew supplies from Ken Grossman when Grossman was still operating Chico Home Brew Shop and working on the business plan for Sierra Nevada Brewing.