Wilton Rancheria Partners with Yurok Tribe in New Business Venture

Tribal-owned businesses build towards effort to expand intertribal commerce

(November 28, 2022) – Yurok Tribe owned Mad River Brewery, and Wilton Rancheria recently formed a partnership to advance intertribal commerce in California. Wilton Rancheria’s Sky River Casino, newly opened and located in Elk Grove, California, will now offer the Yurok Tribe’s Mad River Brewery beer and seltzer products, made the announcement just in time for Native American Heritage Month. Intertribal commerce, which has existed since time immemorial is a practice that both entities believe is imperative to enriching economies and supporting communities. An event to celebrate the partnership is in the works for after the start of the new year.

“The Sky River Casino and Mad River Brewery are a perfect match. Both tribally owned businesses are committed to providing the best possible experience to our patrons and I know the Sky River Casino clientele will absolutely love our amazing beverages,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “The revenue generated by this innovative partnership will stay in our communities, where it strengthen our respective nations.”

“Intertribal trade is a cornerstone of how tribes in California functioned prior to colonization. We are proud to continue that legacy and celebrate Native American Heritage Month by committing to a partnership with Mad River Brewery that will benefit both Wilton Rancheria and the Yurok Tribe,” said Wilton Rancheria Chairman, Jesus Tarango.

“We want to continue to be an ally and promote Mad River Brewery. We love the high-quality craft beer, the story it represents, and the causes it supports.” says Chris Franklin, Executive Director of Economic Development for Wilton Rancheria.

Mad River Brewery, purchased in 2019 by the Yurok Tribe’s Yurok Agricultural Corporation, is known for brewing the best award-winning ales for over 3 decades. Following the brewery’s purchase, environmental and social endeavors such as river restoration and the celebration of a historic partnership with California State Parks have been brought to the forefront of the brand.

New products like the brewery’s hard seltzer, Undammed, help tell the story of the Yurok Tribe’s decades-long fight for dam removal on the Klamath River, the largest dam removal in US history.

The brewery’s products are also marked Yurok Country Certified— distinguishing a high standard of environmental and social responsibility, while also creating an entry point for consumers to learn about the Tribe. The brewery, now gaining steam after years of pandemic setbacks, is looking to transform the food and beverage industry, paving the way for a new Native American category.

Yurok Agricultural Corporation President, Toby Vanlandingham says, “Intertribal business relationships like this establish economic opportunity, advancing endeavors, programs, and services while opening the door for new possibilities. As we move forward, we ask, ‘What else can we do? In what other ways can we help each other?’”

This partnership contributes to a growing venture of the brewery and its partners to develop strong ties in tribal ventures, nourishing reservation economics, intertribal partnerships, and tribally owned business development.

Mad River Brewery announced earlier this year their partnership with Grey Snow Management Solutions, an Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska company. The two partners are working towards the construction of a second brewery and the evolution of the brewery’s beers and seltzers, to be made with ingredients grown on the Ioway reservation using regenerative farming practices, resulting in wholly tribal farm-to-table products.

About Wilton Rancheria

The more than 900 current members of Wilton Rancheria are descendants of the Plains and Sierra Miwok, who lived and prospered in the Sacramento Valley. Tribal status was terminated in 1959 by the federal government and, after years of struggle, restored in June 2009. Wilton Rancheria is the only federally recognized tribe in Sacramento County. In November 2011, the Tribe adopted its modern Constitution, and since that time, tribal leadership has worked to improve the lives of its members and positively serve the community from its offices in Elk Grove.

About Sky River Casino

Sky River Casino, built by the Wilton Rancheria in partnership with Boyd Gaming Corporation, includes 100,000 sq. ft. of gaming, 2,000 slot machines, 80 table games, and “The Market at Sky River,” a food and beverage marketplace with 12 restaurant venues. Located 15 miles south of downtown Sacramento in Elk Grove, Sky River is the closest casino to Sacramento and the South and East Bay areas. The casino is bringing jobs and long-term benefits to the tribe and to the region. For more information, please visit www.skyriver.com.

About Mad River Brewing

Mad River Brewing, a women-led Independent Craft Brewery located in Humboldt County, California has been brewing best-quality beers for more than three decades. MRB employs a time-honored, cut-no-corners approach to hand-crafting the finest quality ales, receiving four Gold Medals, four Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal from the Great American Beer Festival, which offers the most prestigious awards in the industry. Paving the way for a new Native American category in craft beer, the Tribal Brewery, owned by the Yurok Tribe, has introduced new products that promote the decades-long fight for environmental restoration and justice. Mad River Brewing is committed to producing the best-quality beverages on the planet and continues to employ the most holistic brewing methods to craft products that are loved from coast to coast. Visit www.madriverbrewing.com to learn more.