Vaune Dillmann – the man.
The son of a Milwaukee, Wisconsin German father and Polish mother, youngest of five children, Vaune grew up in the fine tradition of the great breweries for which Milwaukee is famous. He developed an admiration for the tradition of excellence that nurtured companies like Pabst, Blatz, Schlitz, Hamm’s and the Miller brewing company.
Many personal passions have guided Vaune’s life. After graduation from the Milwaukee Institute of Technology with degrees in police science and criminology, his youthful idealism led to a desire to help citizens care for and protect their communities. He chose police work as a career and in March of 1968, joined the Oakland Police Department because of its national reputation for being the best police department in the United States. In 1972 Vaune was honored by the Oakland Police Department, and the City of Oakland Exchange Club, who elected him Oakland Police Officer of the year.
Vaune’s foremost passion is his wife of 42 years, Barbara Mazzini, a Weed, California, native from a pioneer family of Siskiyou County, and their two children, Niccole and Justin. He married Barbara in Mt. Shasta in June of 1970. In 1974, after many pleadings from Barbara, Vaune gave up police work for good and moved to Weed, California to start a new lifestyle. Vaune has declared his greatest work to be what is now the family home, a country estate that he designed and built also located in Weed.
Vaune’s Adventures –
Weed turned out to be the perfect place for Vaune. He looked at this old logging town, which had seen more opulent days, as a place full of possibilities. On a gentleman’s bet, Vaune bought the notorious old Black Butte Saloon, which one belonged to a cousin of Barbara’s family, Felice “Boss” Groppi. Under the surface of the old saloon, he saw a beautiful structure, which was well worth preserving. Leaning on his knack for restoration and remodeling, Vaune painstakingly undertook the task of bringing the out the beauty he saw while bringing the structure up to code.
Never content, over the years Vaune has kept busy with several of his “projects”. He remodeled the ranch house that he and Barbara moved into when first settling into Siskyou County. He then remodeled the ranch across the road and completely restored the old Zunino/Groppi Market on Main St. into a floral shop called: the Fiorista.
On December 25, 1988, California State Congressman, Stan Statham, came to Weed to christen the Weed Arch. A project that took 7 years for Vaune to complete; Vaune wrote the inscription on the brass plaque on the Arch’s column and the Weed press dubbed him “the grandfather of the Weed arch” for his accomplishment. The reason for the success of the Arch, he feels, was simply “The pure joy of seeing all walks of life unselfishly donating for an uncommonly beautiful goal.”
Touring microbreweries became one of Vaune’s hobbies after he became established in Weed. He visited breweries around the United States and the free world. He found that he was increasingly frustrated with the poor quality of beer being offered commercially. It seemed to him to be a far cry form the product with full body and beautiful bouquet that he strongly remembered in the old brewing companies of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thus, began his plan to produce a superior microbrewery. In 1992, Vaune negotiated an agreement with the Belcastro family to purchase the Medo-Bel Creamery and develop it into a microbrewery. For twelve years, this project has evolved bringing together a combination of the new and old.
The first challenge was cleaning up the gasoline contamination from underground tanks. The State wanted to ship the soil to Arizona at their expense. However, Vaune convinced the State that the soil would clean naturally if aerated. Thus, Vaune spent the next several months on his backhoe turning the sod every week. But, he did it!
CLICK HERE for HISTORY
In order to put Weed, California on the map, and to promote his business and the town, Vaune contacted the Zwanziger family and requested permission to use the family name and that of Abner Weed for advertising, marketing and promoting both the future brewery and the town. The family of Abner Weed voted unanimously to give permission for use of the name. Thus, in 2002, after major clean up of the Medo-Bel Creamery in Weed, the Dillmann’s brewed their first batch of Abner Weed Amber Ale for their daughter Niccole’s wedding. The Mt. Shasta Brewing Company opened in 2004 for business.
When the Tax & Trade Bureau refused to accept MSBC’s “Try legal Weed” bottle cap, Vaune went on TV and Radio stations, spoke to the newspapers and for that matter, anyone that would listen; defending the First Amendment right of Free Speech. CLICK HERE for Article
On any given day, Vaune can be seen tinkering, welding, or creating some project in the back of the Brewery. His passion for restoration and remodeling has lending itself to the brewery in many unique ways. One would just need to tour the facility to admire Vaune’s innovative designs and eclectic creations. All a part of what makes the Mt. Shasta Brewing Company and Vaune Dillmann a treasure to the community of Weed, California.
Vaune Dillmann – The Myth
Vaune is known for his unique personality. Above his office door hangs a sign that says: “Beware of the Dog.” As many of his employees will tell you, his bark is worse than his bite and his humor may be far worse than all of the above. If ever you want to find Vaune, just go out to his shop where he is sure to be working on one of his many “projects”, riding around on his “hovercraft” or in the Brewery educating the Alehouse staff on the history of a knick-knack that is hanging above their head. Below, Vaune’s employees share some of their favorite moments, sayings, and experiences with him.
Vaune Dillmann - The Legend?
A customer once asked Vaune what an IBU was. His response: “an International Brewing Unit.” – The brew crew
On my first day working for the brewery, Vaune motioned me over and said that he wanted to show me something. 2 hours later, I had an entire tour of his home, the brewery, and his workshop. I knew the history behind all of his projects, including detailed drawings of how each one came to be. As well, he showed me his stockpile of “junk” or things that can be made into something – as he put it; and explained what was going to happen to each piece of junk. “Everything can be reused.” Vaune told me. If you’d like to know why a headstone with Barbara & Vaune’s names already on it, sits in front of their house, I can tell you. – Lauren, office manager.
Vaune once told me a saying that I think of everyday: “Winner’s never quit and Loser’s never win.” – Patience, Alehouse & Bistro
“When you are married to my husband, you never throw anything away. Which is why he is still here.” – Barbara Dillmann
"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves" (plaque given to Vaune) - Jill Colombana
“Don’t touch anything or move anything that I have placed somewhere.”
“You’ve got time to lean – you’ve got time to clean.”
“Make sure you read the instructions.” – be sure to read them after Vaune has proof read and made his own corrections.
“Always check the mail.”