Greg Koch and Steve Wagner always had their sights on Southern California, but it took a trip to Solana Beach for a visit with a friend for Greg to realize this is the area where SoCal dreams are made and where they could make their brewery dream happen. Luckily Steve was all for it too. Greg moved, then Steve and 11 months later they had keys in their hands.
There weren’t a lot of warehouses to choose from. The real estate market had been heating up. Finding a place was obviously essential, but the right combination of what we thought we could afford, the right percentage of square footage, a loading dock, et cetera, et cetera, eluded me. We eventually found a building, signed a lease and moved in on February 2, 1996. A nondescript warehouse in a nondescript industrial park on Mata Way in San Marcos was our new home.
-Greg KochFebruary 2, 1996
Twenty years ago today, all we had was an empty warehouse and a whole lot of ambition. In true craft beer spirit, many of the local breweries welcomed us into the brewing community. Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo of Blind Pig (now of Russian River); Skip Virgilio, founder of AleSmith; Lee Chase of Brewer's Union (and our lead brewer for 9-1/2 years) and his wife, Jen (both now of Automatic Brewing); and Dave Nutley of San Marcos Brewing & Grill all showed up and showed their support!March 9, 1996
After considerable concrete and plumbing work, it was time to start turning it into a real brewery. A semi truck rolled up with shiny stainless steel vessels and by the end of the day our nondescript industrial unit was looking like home.
We'd secured $500,000 in angel financing and purchased a 30-barrel brewing system and set out to change the world. (A barrel is 31 gallons, by the way, so 30 barrels works out to 930 gallons. And just to put that in context, in 1996 Miller sold 43.8 million barrels and Anheuser-Busch sold 91.1 million.)
Stone opened for business and our first keg was sold to Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame. He not only bought the very first keg of Stone Pale Ale, he even drove to San Marcos to pick it up... giving Greg an, um, unrealistic idea of accounts' willingness to do this, which quickly changed as business picked up!July 26, 1996
Stone Pale Ale, our first beer, was released for the very first time.
We wanted to make more of a hybrid pale ale and add an American flair to a more English-style recipe. The recipe we used was one I had developed while in Oregon. I had been given some Ahtanum hops, a little-known cultivar at the time, and tried them out in a pale ale...It was different from other varieties of hops I'd worked with, and it made a different pale ale than I'd tasted before. This was what we wanted to start with; this was how we would begin to carve our identity.
- Steve WagnerLearn more about the original July 26, 1996
In early December 1996, we released our second beer— Winter Stone. At the time, we thought we’d have a seasonal release program, like so many other breweries. We ended up making a few batches and it was doing well, so we didn’t discontinue it until about April, which was much later than we’d originally planned.
We actually had a couple of accounts that said, “Hey! If you make that beer, I’ll sell it. And if you don’t make that beer, I’m not selling any of your beer.” People told us they liked it, my mom loved it, and we loved it, so Steve and I sat down and talked about it. We felt it was a unique beer and deserved to be brewed year-round, so we brought it back, but under a different name: Stone Smoked Porter.)
-Greg KochFind out more about the beer December 1996
Not long after the original seasonal beer experiment with Stone Smoked Porter, we came out with a summer seasonal, Heat Seeking Wheat. I'd been inspired by the Pyramid Wheaten Ale that was brewed when I worked with Pyramid. Greg didn't want it from the get-go, but I somehow persuaded him to let me run with it. And while it never did take off, it did serve as the inspiration for the wildly popular and delicious Stone 9th Anniversary Ale!
- Steve WagnerMay 22, 1997
Beer Release / Anniversary
Back in 1997 when we decided to release Stone IPA for our first anniversary, IPAs were strictly in the realm of the extreme beer enthusiast. At Pizza Port Carlsbad, we'd found Swami's IPA, and that was hard to stray from, despite the long list of other fantastic beers they were putting out. It's hard to imagine now, but I can't recall any other big, hoppy IPAs being brewed in San Diego County at the time. Slim pickings back then, and many of them were IPAs in name only, not really living up to their hoppy potential. We wanted to change that.
- Greg KochRead more about Stone IPA August 16, 1997
The Bastard was born before we opened. It was a mistake made by Steve Wagner while formulating our recipes that resulted in something we loved, but it seemed way too aggressive for the general public. After being open 17 months, we thought it was time to introduce him to the world.
I think we made about 45 kegs and a hundred cases, and they sold out quickly. We made more. That sold out. We made even more. That sold out. Finally we realized that this wasn’t going to be a one-off kind of thing. Despite my suspicions to the contrary, there were worthy people out there. And they were thirsty. The beer (and the name) was here to stay.
- Greg KochVisit the Bastard November 7, 1997
As the 7,100-square-foot facility on Mata Way filled up with more and more kegs of Stone Pale Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale, it seemed as if we just might be onto something. One thing was for sure...the growing pains were just about to start...in earnest!
Greg and I knew we wanted to put out a barleywine pretty early on. We were big fans of other West Coast barleywines, especially Old Crustacean, Bigfoot, and Old Foghorn, and we wanted one to call our own. As an added bonus, our yeast happens to work exceptionally well with high-gravity fermentation, which is one of the defining features of barleywines, so we made it happen. Even though the flavor of the final beer is incredibly complex, the recipe is surprisingly simple.
We first made our barleywine in 1998, but we had trouble deciding on a name for it. We decided to go with Lee’s suggestion of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, but we didn’t really intend to keep it. In fact, we printed the bottles with a note asking for name suggestions from anyone loyal and dedicated enough to read through Greg’s typically lengthy musings. But we weren’t inspired by any suggestions that came in, and we had actually grown to like the name Old Guardian. Then, when Y2K came around (sans anarchy and apocalypse), the 2000 batch of Old Guardian took a silver medal out of a pool of sixty-five barleywine entries at the Great American Beer Festival.
-Steve WagnerFebruary 1, 1998
With the success of Stone IPA and our never-ending urge to push the boundaries and status quo, we made the not too difficult decision to brew Stone 2nd Anniversary IPA with double the hops! Not the very first double IPA, but definitely one that led our palates on a long road to ruin(ation)!
We commemorated our first anniversary with a pretty bold IPA (which you now know and love as the aptly named Stone IPA). Then, in our eternal quest to outdo ourselves, we brewed our Stone 2nd Anniversary IPA with twice as much hops.
- Steve WagnerFind out more about this beer August 8, 1998
As the one-year anniversary of Arrogant Bastard Ale approached, the question of what to do about it arose rather quickly. Given that we'd just brewed the Stone 2nd Anniversary IPA, which was an amped-up version of the Stone 1st Anniversary IPA, the idea to amp up Arrogant Bastard Ale was pretty universally lauded.
- Steve WagnerFind out more about this beer November 7, 1998
Among the alumni in this Team Stone photo from our second Anniversary are five brewmasters! Our own Steve Wagner, Jeff Bagby (Bagby Beer Company), Toshi Ishii (Ishii Brewing Co.), Lee Chase (Automatic Brewing Co.) and Ignacio, who went on to open a brewery in Argentina.
What could be more enticing than a single 22oz bottle of Stone Pale Ale? Hmm, how about six 12oz bottles in one handy-dandy carrying case—Stone Pale Ale six-packs! In spring 1999 this became a reality, along with one of Stone's first marketing ideas...a map to the brewery on the bottom of the six-pack holder...genius, as it drove many people to the humble abode of the Gargoyle on Mata Way!April 14, 1999
Stone Imperial Russian Stout is released for the first time , and goes on to make the federal government recognize the style.
It's a fairly well-known style now, but in the 1990s imperial Russian stouts were practically unheard of—and largely misunderstood. In fact, our friends at the TTB (aka the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the federal agency to which all alcohol producers must submit their labels for approval) weren't quite sure how to deal with it. It took several years (and large quantities of aspirin) to sort it out completely, but eventually it got resolved (obviously), in no small part due to years of diligence from Chris Cochran, Stone’s community relations manager.
- Steve WagnerRead the whole story July 1, 2000
When it came time to brew the Stone 4th Anniversary IPA, we couldn't really use four times as much hops, though we got as close as we could. So we did the next best thing: upped the alcohol from 6.9% to 8.5% ABV. No, Stone Ruination IPA wasn't the first double IPA ever (it's our belief that the honor belongs to Blind Pig's Anniversary Ale first, Rogue's I2PA second, and our own Stone 4th Anniversary IPA third).
- Steve WagnerFind out more about this beer September 23, 2000
Originally we called this hair-brained scheme "Stone Brewing's Going Green Week," a colorful way to raise money for charity. The concept was that members of Team Stone and fans would dye their hair green in their love for hops and get people to sponsor them. The first one raised over $17,000 for local charities. Over the years, the color palette grew to encompass green, red and blue, and we changed the name to Stone DYE-HARDS for Charity... raising over $226,000 for charity.Our Fundraisers & Contributions September 22, 2001
With the Stone 5th Anniversary IPA, we literally amped the hops up as much as humanly possible and went with 8.5% ABV again. Up to that point, our intention had been for the Stone 5th Anniversary IPA to be our final expression on the subject. Call it lack of vision, but back then we didn't think it was viable beyond a limited, special-release status. Well, that thought didn't last even a year. We soon found ourselves jonesing for a powerful hop smack, so in June 2002, Stone Ruination IPA was born.
- Steve WagnerFind out more about this beer September 24, 2001
Stone 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale marked several firsts for us. It was the first time we brewed a Belgian beer; the first time we released a beer that had ingredients other than barley, hops, water and yeast; and, to our knowledge, the first time a brewery came out with an annual series in which the beer changed each year. A new “chapter” came every time the numbers of the day, month and year matched (ending with 12.12.12) and it was fashioned to be enjoyed together in a “vertical” tasting. Ingenuity and creativity abounded, with us using ingredients such as alligator pepper, orange peel, fresh-pressed grapes, Hatch chiles, cinnamon and ginger to create an eleven-movement symphony of flavor. What an exciting first series for us it was, although we never expected to find bottles on eBay with winning bids exceeding $800.Find out more about the series February 2, 2002
Over the years we have taken great delight in pranking our fans on April 1. Usually, it centers on announcing something akin to selling out or poking fun at the parts of the industry we consider less than stellar from Big Beer’s low carb obsession to creating easier-to-drink beers. Check out our prank retrospective here.Stone Prank Retrospective April 1, 2002
Stone Ruination IPA was developed as a hybrid of the Stone 2nd through 5th Anniversary IPAs. We'd been steadily bumping up the hop levels of the anniversary releases every year, but after the massively hoppy Stone 5th Anniversary IPA, adding any more would have been impractical... verging on impossible. We thought it fitting to bring out a year-round release that would be an homage to our first five years and the IPAs that celebrated them.
- Steve WagnerFind out more about the original June 13, 2002
With Stone Levitation Ale, we wanted to create something with the same flavor impact you’d expect from a Stone beer, but with a lower alcohol content. We wanted to keep it below 5% ABV, but finding that balance of flavor, mouthfeel, and alcohol proved difficult. Originally we joked that this would be like a ‘Junior Bastard Ale,’ but it ended up being so much more than that. It commands its own respect—and requires a deft hand at the kettle. Lower-alcohol beers can be a bit harder to brew correctly. Without that big wall of alcohol to support them, the flavors are so transparent that there’s a much smaller margin of error. It took a lot of different malt trials and tweaking of the recipe to get this one right, but I couldn’t be more pleased with it.
- Steve Wagner
Stone Levitation Ale went on to win a gold medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival, but popularity of this beer waned over the years. Finally in March of 2015 we stopped bottling and kegging this old fave.September 20, 2002
As the growth curve of Stone continued at a meteoric clip, the business world started to take notice, and with triple-digit growth from the previous year, Stone Brewing was named to the Inc. 500 list for the first time in 2002! Since then we’ve been on either the Inc. 500 or Inc. 5000 eleven times—which is no easy feat. This truly shows the incredible entrepreneurial spirit that is deeply embedded in the ethos of Stone and illustrates the same spirit that guides us to this day!
This is proof positive that you can actually brew great beers AND be successful in this country. Quality and integrity in this day and age...who would have thought it would work!"
-Greg KochRead the original press release October 15, 2002
It was a big deal when we finally hit the East Coast. At 12 minutes after 12 noon on March 12, we celebrated our new bicoastal status with a first-ever Stone beer tapping event at the famous Blind Tiger Ale House in New York City. Special "I [bastard] NY" bumper stickers were made and, much to our amusement, they arrogantly found their way onto a variety of walls and locations throughout the region.
Famed beer writer Michael Jackson, Greg, and Tony Forder of Ale Street News sampling the 12 Stone beers on tap.
Beer Release / Charity
The inspiration for Sawyer’s Triple came from its namesake, Sawyer Benjamin Sherwood, the 8-year-old son of former Stone brewer Bill Sherwood. He was diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy — aka ALD — a rare genetic disease. Over a period of four years, we had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Sawyer from his visits to the brewery and the occasional backyard BBQ. He was an engaging and athletic kid and it was a crushing blow to lose him in September 2003, only days before the initial release of Sawyer’s Triple. Knowing this beer was brewed on Sawyer’s behalf and for all those who have had to fight his fight, we thank you for helping the cause and supporting a beer that stands for something more than well-crafted flavor. We rebrewed the beer in 2008 and at the end of 2015 to raise additional money for Fight ALD, the charity founded by his parents. Sawyer’s mother, Janis, has visited more than 2,300 medical facilities in 48 states in the never-ending fight for awareness, and mandatory screening for ALD is now becoming a reality!Read more about Sawyer's Triple October 3, 2003
Symposium Ale was our first collaboration beer, created by three San Diego County brewers and breweries: Peter Zien of AleSmith Brewing Company, Tomme Arthur of Pizza Port Solana Beach and Port Brewing and our Lee Chase (now of Automatic Brewing and Blind Lady Ale House fame). It was brewed and bottled for the 2004 Association of Brewers (now Brewers Association) Craft Brewers Conference, held in San Diego. The beer was a Belgian-style strong golden ale with lemongrass. It was available to conference attendees, and was for sale for a short time at our old brewery in San Marcos.April 15, 2004
We experimented with Arrogant Bastard Ale, tossing in American oak chips to see how it might play with the brazen flavor. The oak chips contributed some subtle notes of vanilla and gave the normally angry beer a more sophisitcated feel. We originally put it out as a special release in 3-liter bottles.
- Steve WagnerFind out more about this beer November 1, 2004
After many years of development and being cramped in San Marcos, we created a new facility from the ground up in Escondido. As soon as we had a green light to move in, we filled our trucks and got moving. Not only did we move the offices in a single day, we had the audacity to move the entire bottling line over the course of a weekend. We finished our bottling run on that Friday in San Marcos, dismantled the entire line and had it running early the next week.
Our new home in Escondido gave us the ability to meet the demand of thirsty fans, with room to grow. A single batch quadrupled in size with our 120-barrel brewhouse. Our original brewhouse and facility was up for grabs and looked like it might go back to being another nondescript industrial unit. We couldn’t be happier when our friends Vince and Gina at Pizza Port took ownership of it and let Tomme Arthur launch The Lost Abbey there.December 16, 2005
Over the years Stone CEO and co-founder Greg Koch has definitely pitched a lot of things: our beers, ideas, tents, ethics, a little BS, and more. Fortunately, it’s not too often that he throws a fit. He’s definitely tossed a few things: like a few pints. However, one of the more memorable things the man-behind-the-gargoyle has pitched, thrown or tossed was the “first pitch” at a San Diego Padres game back in 2006 at the then-new Petco Park.
He was honored to be asked but not really sure what it would entail, and I informed him that, no matter what, “Don’t fuck up or the crowd will boo you, no matter who you are!” So what’d we do? Well, we ventured onto the grounds that were becoming Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Escondido, measured out 60 feet 6 inches, gathered up some rocks about the size of a baseball and practiced!
And what does practice make? Sometimes it makes perfection, and in this case it made Greg a decent enough pitcher to toss a nice, little high pitch, over the plate AND caught by the catcher to many cheers and raised glasses in the stands from Team Stone and other fans enjoying America’s pastime with America’s Finest City’s favorite beer.
Cheers to baseball and the boys of summer!
-Stone Community Relations Manger Chris CochranWatch the vBlog May 8, 2006
When I saw the job opening at Stone, I couldn't think of a more exciting place to brew beer. And, at Stone, I'm going to be working for and with people who have such great passion for craft brewing. They believe in it, and they live it. I don't think there's a better place for me to be.
-Mitch Steele, BeerAdvocate.com interviewMay 15, 2006
Beer Release / Charity
When we were building our new brewery, restaurant and gardens in Escondido, we asked our fans to sponsor stones in the wall that connects the inside of our brewery to the patio and bar outside. People stepped up and put their stones in the wall—472 to be exact. Aside from the knowledge that they were supporting local charities, they received bottles of the specially brewed StoneWall Ale that bore the names of all the generous donors. At 12.2%, this American barley wine was the strongest beer Stone had ever brewed, and it raised more than $85,000 for charity.Find out more June 11, 2006
The opening of the cavernous 8,500-square-foot space and 1-acre garden was a major milestone for our company. It was our first venture into the culinary world, and it existed to set expectations way higher for beer's place in more elevated and fine dining restaurants. No longer would beer just be associated with greasy burgers, yellow-cheese-laden nachos... or TV-jammed sports bars. Local, organic ingredients were a priority as well as a seasonal menu constantly inspired by fresh, worldly cuisine and the Slow Food movement. People came from all over looking for another "brewpub" to visit, but what greeted them was something that smashed their frame of reference to pieces and served as an example to the industry that beer deserved equally flavorful food pairings and an environment more inviting than those neon-lit, pleather booth joints.
We worked in some cool architectural features and focused on incorporating a lot of natural elements. To let in lots of natural light and fresh air, we came up with the idea of large, 23-foot tall slanted glass walls with 12-foot-tall panels that would slide up to open. That brought some of the outdoors to the indoors, but the indoors was important too. Having been cooped up in a concrete jungle for so long in our old space, I wanted to have my own beer garden, my own little Shangri-la. I wanted to be surrounded by plant life, water features, and natural beauty.
All anniversaries are special in some way for us, but when it came to our 11th Anniversary Ale, we knew we couldn’t let it be a one-off gem. This beer eventually became the year-round release fans knew first as Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, then later as Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA.
As soon as we wrapped up the brewing of the Stone 10th Anniversary IPA, we started brainstorming ideas for the Stone 11th Anniversary Ale. Not long before joining Stone, I had the chance to try a black IPA called Darkside. It was made at The Shed, a little brewpub in Vermont. I was really taken with the style and wanted to brew one myself. Greg was a little hesitant, but he came around quickly after tasting the pilot. When we finished tinkering with the recipe and brewed that first batch, we found we'd nailed the perfect combination of deep, rich flavor, and a hearty bitterness. We absolutely loved it.
- Mitch SteeleFind out more about this beer September 8, 2007
This beer marked the beginning of our collaboration series. Working together with other brewers to craft interesting new beers has been one of the most rewarding endeavors Team Stone has undertaken.
Ever since we brewed the Symposium Ale for the Craft Brewers Conference in 2004, Steve and I had the idea of further collaborations in the back of our minds. Four years later, when Mikkel Bjergsø (of Mikkeller fame) got in touch wanting to do a collaboration beer, we jumped at the chance. He wanted to brew a traditional Belgian-style tripel to honor the famed beer writer, Michael Jackson, who had just passed away. I wanted to include a third brewer to really cement the idea of collaboration, so we again tapped our good friend Peter Zien who was more than happy to sign on.
- Greg KochFind out more about this beer August 5, 2008
Brewing up a Belgian-style beer requires us to culture a big batch of our Belgian yeast strain. When we set out to make the Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale, we opted to grow the yeast in the Stone IPA wort. After separating out the yeast and transferring it to the tanks for the Vertical Epic Ale, we tasted the resulting Belgian-ized Stone IPA and were inspired to dry hop it with Chinook hops, as opposed to the Centennial we use for Stone IPA. The result? Stone Cali-Belgique IPA.
- Mitch SteeleFind out more about this beer August 30, 2008
This magazine article caught us completely off guard. Sure, we are proud of the beers we brew, but we weren't expecting to open up BeerAdvocate magazine (Volume II, Issue XI) and find an article naming us #1 on a list of "All-Time Top Breweries on Planet Earth: according to the numbers, the most popular and highest-rated brewers—ever." The article went on to show the top-rated 25 beers according to its users, five of which were our beers. This title could not have been won without all of you, so thank you!See the issue January 16, 2009
As part of our rally for the American Homebrewers Association, we hosted our first homebrew competition at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. The winning brewer would be rewarded with an opportunity to brew their beer at Stone on a large scale. Local renowned homebrewer Ken Schmidt was the first to win, with his porter Aloha Plenty, which incorporated Kona coffee, macadamia nuts and toasted coconut. We liked it so much that we buzzed our buddy Garrett Marrero from Maui Brewing Co. to see whether he wanted to jump in and make it an official collaboration. He did, and the man known for short shorts & Hawaiian shirts was thrilled! The result was Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter.
In scaling up the recipe, it became apparent that we were in for some serious labor. And these ingredients were not cheap. We needed about a thousand pounds of coconut, three hundred pounds of macadamia nuts, and two hundred pounds of Kona coffee. And that coconut had to be hand-toasted to get the flavor just right. With our small oven setup in the Bistro, the kitchen staff worked overtime, bless their hearts. All told, it took about four eight-hour shifts to toast it all up. But, in the end, it was worth it.
- Mitch SteeleFind out more about this beer September 21, 2009
With the ever-increasing demand for Stone beers and the desire for continued growth, we had to make a big decision...the distribution team might have to move out of the house and into a place of their own. This transition into a new distribution facility happened when we acquired a 57,509-square-foot building in Escondido. To put it in perspective, we tripled our capacity to store cold beer, making Stone the only local brewer/distributor to keep all of its beer cold from the brewery to the warehouse and onto refrigerated trucks headed for retailers, bars and restaurants.Stone Distributing February 19, 2010
Windy City craft beer drinkers waited for years; they begged, they emailed, they pleaded, they prayed. We were listening all along, and finally on the auspicious date of April 1, their wishes came true: Stone beers were available in Chicagoland! It wasn’t one of our epic "Fools," but instead a true-to-life craft beer extravaganza that consisted of more than 30 events over nine days, some of which had up to 30 different Stone beers on tap at one time! Not to mention Steve and Greg in attendance...maybe that’s why the line for the Whole Foods tasting event went around the block.Read about our Chicago launch April 1, 2010
Instead of fans just dealing with the distance barrier of having a brewery 30 some miles outside of the heart of downtown San Diego to fill their growlers, we decided to do something about it. We opened up our first off-site company store in South Park to help our fans get their hands on our fresh beer without burning gallons of gas, while promoting reusable containers.Visit one of our locations June 15, 2011
With the success of Stone Company Store - South Park, it only seemed fitting to bring this concept of a little Stone-away-from-Stone to other corners of the county. So when a small, often blighted parcel became available in the coastal community of Oceanside, it spoke to Greg. And, what do you know, Greg listened... and was often spotted Stone-ifying the space as only he knows how. Today both the Oceanside store and Pasadena store (opened that October) have become community hubs for craft beer, people, pets and conversation... just the way it was envisioned!Visit one of our locations July 12, 2012
The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) announced Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens - Escondido as one of 11 projects to achieve a certification under the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes. Among the specific sustainable design benchmarks we met: 1) Capturing stormwater and utilizing it as a design feature, 2) Edible landscaping and drought-tolerant, regionally appropriate plantings, 3) Use of salvaged and reused materials in construction of the site and 4) A commitment to sustainable and organic maintenance practices.September 17, 2012
Nearly all good things must come to an end: a sunset, a novel, Greg face, and—of course—a beer. In this case, a series of beers. A tremendously ambitious, over-the-top concept that rocked the craft beer industry and made people ask, "You can age a beer how long?" So when the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series came to a conclusion on 12.12.12, it marked an end of an era but marked the start of something else—some of the most amazing pairing events and vertical tastings the craft beer world has ever seen, and likely won't see again!Stone Vertical Epic Series December 12, 2012
Our new venture at the historic Naval Training Center was from the start a very grandiose idea—but that’s not new for us! We renovated this space in Liberty Station and turned 55,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space into two bocce ball courts, a movie courtyard, an expansive garden patio, private banquet rooms and 10-barrel pilot brewing system, making it the largest restaurant in San Diego County. Now over 800 people could sit back and enjoy food as well crafted as the 40 craft beers on tap, watch koi fish swimming in the pond and take in all of the aforementioned features that make it a destination spot.
Our brewer Kris Ketcham was already heading up pilot beers in Escondido, so we gave him a new playground in the form of a 10-barrel pilot brewing system for creating limited, one-off releases. This was a big deal, since this was the first time we brewed outside our main facility.Find out more May 1, 2013
To keep up with our monumental growth, in May 2013 we completed construction of a 57,000-sq-ft bottling and kegging facility next to our current brewery. Dedicating this new building entirely to packaging and quality assurance freed up a large amount of space in our original brewery, allowing us to install a second 120-barrel brewing system and additional fermentation tanks.
Flight delays in Terminal 2 became a lot more enjoyable with the opening of Stone Brewing Co. at San Diego International Airport. Keeping with our trademark “industrial-becoming-organic” design style, we created a craft beer haven for passengers to retreat to before catching their flights. With a menu made up of elevated fare worthy of airport prices and the opportunity to pick up some “flighties” (beer for the flight), it has been rated by many credible sources as one of the best airport bars.Read about our Airport location September 23, 2013
Getting cold beer to the 50th state in the union had always been a challenge, especially for smaller craft brewers. Thanks to the infrastructure and portfolio of Stone Distributing Co., we were able to offer a solution by partnering with longtime friend Garrett Marrero, founder of Maui Brewing Co. Maui | Stone Craft Beverages was created, and with it a new craft beer pipeline to Maui.Find out more February 14, 2014
A session ale might seem to go against our innate desire to brew big, bold beers, but one taste of this beer revealed that, despite its lower ABV, a hop flavor just as dominant and vibrant as ever.
The reason we are calling this Go To IPA is because so many of us are saying, 'wow, this going to become our new go-to beer because it is very refreshing.' Perfect for a warm day. I love the idea of having a beer that you can have multiple pints of but still delivers that American IPA and that hop intensity flavor that everyone seems to be looking for.
-Mitch SteeleStone Go To IPA March 3, 2014
We first announced our intentions to head to Europe in 2009 and today it became official: Marienpark Berlin will be the future site of Stone Brewing!
This is a historic moment for Stone. I’ve wanted to say these next words for many years now: We’re coming to Europe. We’re coming to Germany. We are coming to Berlin! It has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be more proud to say that we are finally on our way to being the first American craft brewer to own and operate our own brewery in Europe.
Stone's future European home will serve as the company's international hub; a central location promoting goodwill and quality craft beer spanning the globe. With this expansion comes our commitment to brewing bold, aggressive, hop-forward beers in a country with a long history rooted in the art of brewing.
-Steve WagnerFind out more July 19, 2014
We always felt uncomfortable with the precious resources expended to get our beer from one coast to the other, let alone the cost it added for fans. After years of searching for an East coast home, we settled on Richmond, Virginia.
The search for our location east of the Mississippi River was no easy endeavor. We received and reviewed hundreds of proposals, visited more than 40 sites, and received quite a bit of attention from communities and craft beer fans. The three finalist cities each provided diverse offerings, however, we decided to begin next-step negotiations with Richmond...we feel that Richmond's vibrant energy and impressive craft beer culture, along with the uniqueness of the property, will allow us to create a truly memorable Stone experience for our fans. We are honored by the amount of time and effort all the communities that submitted proposals put forth, and we want to specifically thank Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones for welcoming us.
-Greg KochFind out more October 9, 2014
A few years back Greg Koch proposed developing a beer delicious enough to make that word a defining part of the beer’s name. That challenge was achieved (and surprisingly so) with a citrusy IPA that also happened to be crafted to reduce gluten. The addition of Lemondrop and El Dorado hops helped deliver in spades the promise inherent in the beer's name, with its prevalent lemon-candy and herbal lemon flavors and aromas.Find out more about this beer January 5, 2015
Stone executives and local Richmond officials gathered to toast the lifting of the building’s roof so the massive fermentation tanks could be lowered into our new brewery. Even the governor was there to raise a glass to the arrival of the new brewhouse and the installation of the brewing system. And like so many Stone projects...first comes the brewery, then the beer, then the bistro.Find out more December 4, 2015
At 6pm (CET) our first kegs of Stone beer brewed in Berlin were tapped throughout Europe, further cementing our fate to become the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate a brewery in Europe. To celebrate its significance, this fresh beer event spanned 40 different bars and restaurants throughout Europe. To all those who came and to all of our fans and supporters of Stone Brewing - Berlin here and abroad, we say: "Danke und Prost!"
The reality of our beers being brewed and served fresh in Europe is the outcome of international camaraderie in craft beer that includes shared visions, collaboration and a unified passion for the craft that now spans oceans.
-Greg KochFind out more December 7, 2015
Establishing a brewery on the site of Berlin’s historic Marienpark gasworks complex has been quite an endeavor, and although construction won’t be completed until March 2016, being able to share our first pilot brews with Europe was a momentous celebration for us.
Two decades of brewing beer on our own terms calls for a celebration! Each year we hold our biggest annual festival by taking over a university campus and transforming it into a craft beer theme park. This is a not-for-profit event that will raise over $250,000 for local charities in less than 48 hours. What are we doing beyond that to celebrate the big 2-0? Stay tuned!August 20, 2016