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Pono Brewing, LLC is a craft brewery in Portland, Oregon formed in 2013 by Larry Clouser and Erick Russ.
LARRY CLOUSER, Cofounder – Brewing and Distribution
Before cofounding Pono Brewing Company with Erick Russ in 2013, Larry started in the brewing industry in 1995 at Pusch Ridge Brewing Company in Tucson, Arizona where he proved to be a quick learner and moved up to head brewer. In 1997 he moved back to Portland, OR and joined BJ’s Restaurant and Brewpub and was a brewer and bar manager. Larry left the brewing industry for a while but continued to homebrew and was very active in the homebrewing community, winning several awards. He later came back to the beer industry by working for FH Steinbart Company selling homebrew supplies and teaching others how to brew.
Larry then went to work for the supply side of the beer industry starting with Brewcraft USA as a Sales Manager and then moving on to Country Malt Group where he worked with some of the nation’s biggest and best breweries in Oregon, California and Hawaii selling ingredients and brewing collaboration beers as well as consulting for startup breweries in other countries including the Philippines where his wife is from. Larry was a Guest Instructor for Oregon State University’s Brewery Startup Program and was a Guest Speaker for the 2015 American Homebrewing Association’s Homebrewcon.
“After test brewing for ten years, I’ve learned not to use Dragon Fruit.”
ERICK RUSS, Cofounder – Management, Sales and Distribution
A native of Michigan, Erick follows in the footsteps of his great grandparents’ Edward and Semone Coury, owners of the Rainbow Inn in Detroit. After attending Northern Michigan University, Erick lived all over the country until finding home in Portland. He is a local entrepreneur, serious foodie and world traveler. He and Larry, quite an adventurer himself, met through a friend and after discovering a mutual love of beer, reggae music and diverse cultures—and more beer—the collaboration began.
Well known in the Oregon cannabis industry as an award-winning consultant, Erick spent three years working to enable a fully licensed recreational cannabis production facility in Portland to begin operation.
In 2017 Erick spearheaded Pono Brewing Company’s inaugural “Shandytown”—part mini-food-festival, part cocktail competition—as an annual fundraiser for one of Pono’s nonprofit partners, Growing Gardens, with funds being used in statewide food security programs.
“Being a salesman isn’t easy. Selling beer in a city with an insane amount of beer options is even harder… I first started hitting the pavement armed with no sales skills, the smile of an idiot, and a heart full of enthusiasm.”