About Us

GrowlerWerks Founders

If you're like us, many of your favorite microbrews aren't sold in bottles. GrowlerWerks was created by local Portlanders who love craft beer. We've drawn on a combined 47 years of engineering and product-design experience to make a better way to store beer. With a GrowlerWerks growler your beer will always taste exactly how the brewmaster intended. Email us to find out more at info@growlerwerks.com.

Founders Q&A:

Describe your product in three words:

Craft, Innovation, Ease

Where did you get the inspiration for your product?

A love of good beer, and a desire the make the experience better. We’re beer lovers living in a beer-rich region, and as engineers we recognized the need for a better solution. We decided to focus our skills and efforts on this endeavor, and the rest is history.

What differentiates your product from similar products out there?

After testing all the available options, we realized that nobody had cracked the code on a pressurized growler that works. So we designed the uKeg: It’s easy to use, with an automatic regulator cap that holds CO2 inside, instead of externally, variable carbonation from zero (off) up to 15 psi, and a dispensing tap so beer can be easily served without removing the cap. It also has a liquid sight glass, an ergonomic handle, and it’s easy to clean.

What’s the best and most challenging parts of the creation process?

Ideas are fun and creative, and turning those ideas into high quality products is challenging. We've focused our experience to produce a high quality product. It takes a lot of work and coordination to get it right, and we're proud when our beer loving customers are happy.

Our Team

Shawn Huff - President, Founder

Shawn HuffWhen Shawn was trying to impress a girlfriend's parents at Salishan with some of Oregon's finest IPA, he ended up drain-pouring the stuff two days later. It had gone flat and stale in a glass growler. That's when he decided beer lovers needed a solution to keep craft beer fresh, and GrowlerWerks was born. (It's OK about the girlfriend: His first love is skiing, anyway.) He's been an entrepreneur since childhood, making and selling pottery and walking sticks during summers in Ashland. He eventually wrote his first of four patents in 2006 at the age of 27.

Raised in Portland, Shawn attended Portland Public Schools. In the college years, he skied for Southern Oregon University's ski team, received a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University and then a Master of Science from the University of Washington's Dept of Chemical Engineering, where he won a "best innovation" award in the school's business plan competition.

Shawn led GrowlerWerks' successful Kickstarter Campaign, brand and ecommerce launch. The past twelve years have brought Shawn experience in engineering, team management, and sales & marketing. 

Shawn can be found:


Ed Arce - Director of Sales

Passionately bound to the world of soccer since youth, Edgar found himself in Portland on a small team responsible for Nike’s successful emergence into the global soccer market. That took the American-born son of Salvadoran immigrants to some great cities around the world. When he returned to Portland, some of the world’s best craft beer was waiting for him. He’s happily lived in the heart of  NW Portland for more than 20 years. 

Before joining GrowlerWerks, Edgar was marketing successful Portland neighborhood pubs such as North 45, Circa33, Produce Row, The Station and Paddy’s. In his 14 years with Nike, he became an innovative voice regarding today’s consumer youth and an evolving market.

Ed provides a unique combination of marketing, sales, branding, consumer insight and product management experience. His expertise has been responsible for creating and directing strategic plans for new business opportunities in both the domestic and international markets.

 

Ed can be found:

  • Watching son Dominic run cross-country and track for Lincoln High School
  • Cooking up a proper feed for World Game viewing
  • Having one “off the wood” with expatriate mates

For wholesales inquires please go to our Wholesale page


Evan Rege - Product Design, Founder

Evan graduated from University of California Berkeley and has spent the majority of his mechanical design career in the fuel cell industry and stationary power applications. Since that's harder to write about and make interesting to the general public, it's fantastic he decided to put his engineer mind to work on an aesthetically pleasing, functional growler that not only makes for a good hiking companion, but also fits in the family fridge. He's gathered six patents, has been a Portland resident since 2006 and spends his time snowboarding, backpacking, biking, surfing and finding most any other excuse to get outdoors. The self-described beer nerd can be found at odd hours giving a prost in Brian's basement, which has affectionately been named the GrowlerWerks Design Center for Excellence. His past career hours were spent at UTC Fuel Cells and ClearEdge Power.

Evan can be found:

  • Raising his first-born baby Alonzo
  • Longboarding Washington Park
  • Brewing beer at home

Brian Sonnichsen - Product Design, Founder

A mechanical engineer with 19 years of experience, designing everything from inkjet printers at Xerox to fuel power systems at ClearEdge Power, Brian has a Master of Science earned from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and 13 patents. More importantly for the rest of us, the homebrewer and craft-beer supporter has a desire to see people own growlers that make craft beer good to the last drop. He and his team are on a mission to eradicate drain-pour: a craft beer tragedy. Living in the Northwest, Brian owns more beer-themed T-shirts than ties and has acquired a love for the region's abundant water sources. He kayaks, rafts and hits the slopes every chance he gets. The Lakeridge High School graduate's basement contains a rustic pub he built. It now headquarters GrowlerWerks. Meanwhile, his area-native wife, Renee, runs a successful fashion business, Hardwear by Renee, in the family's garage. Together they raise their two boys in their busy Southeast Portland home. There he hosts an unparalleled Halloween party for friends that has become a neighborhood icon after 15 years of operation. It's typically attended by 500 people and benefits the Oregon Food Bank.

Brian and a growler can be found:

  • Kayaking the Grand Canyon, the Clackamas or anything in between.
  • Searching for powder at Mt Hood Meadows.
  • Playing soccer with the Lompoc soccer team or out supporting the Timbers.
  • Enjoying an Abominable Ale at Hopworks or a C-Note at Lompoc.

Shelley Hilderbrand - Finance

When you live on five acres, have two horses and a preschool-age son, it's easy to understand the desire to own a uKeg. Shelley has 15 years of experience in financing and auditing. That's included time in Big 4 public accounting at KPMG, and work with both publicly traded and venture-backed companies (Pixelworks and ClearEdge Power). GrowlerWerks sought her financial expertise right after it raised $1.5 million in its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. It was time for the new company to regroup and grow. So, as it was with those who joined the team before her, a meeting in Brian's basement was planned.

An Oregon native, Shelley attended Portland's Sunset High School, followed by Linfield College and Portland State University. Now, when she isn't filling her head with numbers, she plays with her son, tends to her property, and rides her horse Wade, or her lawn tractor, which is unnamed. Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley and running marathons have rounded out the Northwesterner.

Shelley can be found:

  • At the playground with her son.
  • Enjoying Portland's best vegan fare.
  • Relaxing with a glass of pinot under the pergola she built with her husband.