North Bay Woman

North Bay Woman April 2015

North Bay Woman Magazine

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S P R I N G 2 0 1 5 | NORTH BAY WOMAN 57 By Tina caputo Natalie Cilurzo didn't set out to become a brewery owner. Wine was her original passion, and before getting into the brewing business she spent 19 years doing everything from labeling wine bottles to analyzing sales figures. But then, while pursuing her wine career in Temecula, she fell in love with local brewer Vinnie Cilurzo. When the couple married and moved to Northern California, Natalie took a job with Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville. She might have stayed in the wine business if Korbel hadn't opened Russian River Brewing Co. in 1997, and asked the Cilurzos to run it. The couple purchased the brewery in 2002, and opened their now-famous brewpub in Santa Rosa. from that moment on, Natalie was "all in" on the brewery side. "It was a very easy transition from wine to beer," she says. "Vinnie opened his first brew- ery, Blind Pig Brewing Co., before we were married, so I was already in the business – at least at arm's length. I have always helped out with bottling, picking hops, or whatever." As co-owner and president of Russian River, she oversees the pub, the company fi- nances, human resources and events. She also provides input on the brewing side about new products for the brewery's lineup. In terms of style trends, Natalie says she >> Above: Cathy Portje with her husband, Atha, opened Baeltane Brewing in Novato in December of 2012. Baeltane's top seller are Citroen Farmhouse Ale, Rumpelstiltskin Double IPA and The Frog that Ate the World Double IPA. Right: Tap handles found in the tasting room of Baeltane Brewery. –Photos by Stuart Lirette

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