Written by

men in breweryWhen Jaime Dietenhofer ’99 came to Whitman, he left his family and high school sweetheart, Meighan Jackson, behind. He played soccer and rugby for the Missionaries, majored in politics, and was an active member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, all while maintaining a long distance relationship with Jackson, who attended University of Puget Sound.

“We made the long trek back and forth over the Cascades to visit each other,” Dietenhofer said. “She frequented the Beta formals and Whitman events. Many of my Whitman buddies are still a part of our close family friends.”

After graduation, the couple married and moved back to Santa Ynez, California, together to attend the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at University of California at Santa Barbara, before founding Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company with Jaime’s father. The brewery reflects their passion for the local surroundings and pays homage to the rich heritage of the Santa Ynez Valley.

“A Whitman education is a great foundation for paving the road to entrepreneurship,” Jaime said. “It was an amazing education that allowed me to get a broad grasp on many different areas. Being an entrepreneur you need to have many tools, ready for whatever comes your way. Receiving a Whitman education is like having a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife in your arsenal.”

He also noted that Whitman fully supports creativity and thinking outside the box. He was widely encouraged to travel, and while abroad in Vienna, Austria, he was inspired to move forward with his brewery.“A Whitman education is a great foundation for paving the road to entrepreneurship,” Jaime said. “It was an amazing education that allowed me to get a broad grasp on many different areas. Being an entrepreneur you need to have many tools, ready for whatever comes your way. Receiving a Whitman education is like having a Leatherman or a Swiss Army knife in your arsenal.”

Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer are a father and son team with a passion for quality beer. Both businessmen and entrepreneurs, they have grown Figueroa Mountain on hard work and quality products. They have opened six taprooms along the coast of California and intend to continue their expansion.

“During the mid ’90s, the Northwest was the birthplace of the craft beer movement, and I was happy to participate. I was able to start building a business plan that eventually led to the launch of Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company.” 

In the past five years, the company has received many accolades for their work. Figueroa Mountain’s Danish Red Lager won the Gold Medal in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival; their Big Cone Black Ale got the Gold Medal in the 2013 Denver International Beer Competition; and their Stagecoach Stout won the Gold Medal in the 2011 San Diego International Beer Competition—to name a few.

Jaime and Meighan reside in the Santa Ynez Valley with their two sons Anders and Gray.