Lassen Ale Works and the Pioneer Saloon is owned by a partnership of four people: Erik Jefferts, Julie Howard, Mark Pfenning and Margaret Liddiard. The four are long time friends, who when they saw the opportunities in Susanville, formed a company to pursue their dreams.
Erik Jefferts started in the brewing business in Seattle in 1980 and has never looked back: he simply fell in love with brewing. If you'd like to hear more about him and his brewing philosophy, check out his profile at “Meet the Brewer”
"It's hard to express how lucky I feel," says Jefferts, "getting to do eighteen hour days in a historic saloon, brewing up what I love for others to enjoy. Most of the time it just doesn't feel like work. If you see me at the Pioneer, be sure to tell me which of our beers is your favorite."
Margaret brings more than 30 years’ experience in marketing and team management to the Pioneer Saloon and Lassen Ale Works. She's led teams that designed effective marketing campaigns for businesses and products ranging from Northwest regional publications to high tech products. Her passion is hiring and training people dedicated to preparing great food, serving outstanding libations and providing excellent service in a welcoming atmosphere.
"I've always felt that the great companies and their people tend to communicate an experience, a shared passion for what they do for others," says Liddiard. "Lassen County is a hidden gem of a place, with uniquely wonderful people and history that so much of California is just unaware of. It's a real honor to be a part of the 150 year-old Pioneer Saloon history, and to help Erik share his magnificent creations with such a fantastic community."
Mark brings more than 35 years of sales and management experience, emphasizing business operations and product development at retail, wholesale, and manufacturer levels to the Grand Cafe, Pioneer Saloon, and Lassen Ale Works. Mark has an extensive history of physical plant build-out, and implementation of computer systems integrating point-of-sale, inventory control, and back-end accounting. In addition, he has extensive management skills honed by experience with managing numerous retail business startups including personnel hiring, training, facility design and layout; new product launches, customer service programs; inventory control; and vendor relations.
"When I first saw the Pioneer and got my mind wrapped around how we'd build a brewery into it, I just though, 'Wow, what an amazing old building to be a part of,'" says Mark. "I mean, a genuine stone and masonry Old West saloon...and now I have to figure out how to layout the plant operations and stay true to the history? Too cool."
Julie Howard is a creative, detail-oriented visual designer with 18 years’ experience developing and producing marketing collateral and multi-million-dollar proposals, who designed the Lassen Ale Works logo the numerous visual and creative needs of the cafe and brewery. She is an avid photography buff, and a dabbler in watercolors, acrylics, oils and encaustics.
"The artistic side of things with the Pioneer and our beers has been a lot of fun," says Julie. "Susanville has such a rich history, and it's been great learning about it and trying to tie in the beers made in this historic saloon to the rest of the area's history. For example, the town was named after founder Isaac Roop's daughter, Susan, but before that was called Rooptown - which is the genesis of our Rooptown Red Ale. Eagle Lake is just outside of town and is the second largest natural lake in California, which is how our Eagle Lake IPA got its name. All these things and more go into the labeling and design of our beers. It's a lot of fun, and very satisfying."