I'm Greg @ Stone Brewing and "The Beer Jesus From America" - Beer Me Anything!

Discussion in 'Beer Me Anything' started by StoneGreg, Dec 4, 2019 at 5:55 PM.

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  1. StoneGreg

    StoneGreg Initiate (78) May 16, 2002 California

    Hey BA Folks! Let’s talk.

    I’m excited to be stopping in today for this Q and A session. Happy to take any questions about Stone, the beer industry, my time on tour with Metallica this summer (yes that was absolutely a humble-brag), the new Jägermeister/Arrogant Bastard Ale collaboration release, or whatever is on your mind today. To get us started, anyone gotten a chance to watch “The Beer Jesus From America” yet, now that it’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo On Demand? If so, what stood out most to you?

    I’ll also pop onto Instagram LIVE via https://www.instagram.com/stonegreg/ to respond to some stuff live, because, you know...inflection & facial expressions matter (I hear kids these days call that ‘emojis’).

    Let’s do this!

    Greg Koch
    Co-Founder & (boring title alert!) Executive Chairman
    Stone Brewing
    Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
    San Diego • Richmond • Pasadena • Berlin • Shanghai • Napa • Beijing (Coming Soon)
    Jaycase, 2beerdogs, Todd and 16 others like this.
  2. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Poo-Bah (2,312) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Moderator Society Trader

    Hey Greg, many thanks for participating in this BMA and welcome back to the forums. As a German craft beer drinker, I'm very curious about your unique insights into the German craft beer scene. Do you think Germany is a more difficult market for craft beer to establish itself in compared to other countries? What would you identify as the main challenges craft beer faces here and where do you see it 5 years from now? Do you think it will ever be truly successful in Germany?

    Craft beer only really started to break into the German mainstream consciousness as little as 3 years ago and already seems to be on the decline, at least in my area, with bottle shops closing down and larger beverage stores banishing it from their shelves because it's just not selling in large enough amounts. I've written about it at length HERE not too long ago, but here's a quick TL;DR on the problems with craft beer in Germany in my opinion. I would be very interested in hearing your personal opinion on the subject matter.

    • Untappd. Many shops are complaining that customers only buy a beer once, tick it and move on.
    • Freshness. Beer on German supermarket shelves is typically 6+ months old.
    • Passion. Many "craft" brewers in Germany seem more motivated by the higher margins that craft beer offers than by a true passion for brewing.
    • Price. German drinkers are really used to paying no more than 2€ for a litre of beer, while craft beer runs around 8€ per litre on average.
    • German mindset. Many Germans are set in their ways and slow to adapt to new things.
    There's simply too much old and too expensive craft beer by below-average breweries on German supermarket shelves while the bottle shops that carry the good, fresh stuff are too unknown and even more expensive. Just imagine Johnny Fernsehbier finally ponying up that ridiclous price for a small bottle of craft beer and it tasting like ass because it's a 6 month old IPA by a crappy brewery. It will probably be the first and the last craft beer he ever bought...

    Bonus question, is it true that BrewDog is planning on replacing the 0.5l cans of Arrogant Bastard with 0.33l bottles? Because that would be a real crime... Oh, and where the hell can I get some Jägermeister Arrogant Bastard in Germany?
    desint, VoodooBear, Jaycase and 16 others like this.
  3. mattisloco

    mattisloco Disciple (316) Feb 13, 2007 Texas

    Off the top of your head, how many offers have been made to buy Stone in the past couple of years?
  4. zachattack12

    zachattack12 Initiate (35) Apr 14, 2019 Kentucky

    Were there other names you considered when creating Stone Brewing? What were they?
  5. LGHT

    LGHT Devotee (464) Sep 28, 2007 California
    Society Trader

    Is Stone, trying to buy out Barley Forge?
    2beerdogs, GreenBayBA and DEdesings57 like this.
  6. IPAExpert69

    IPAExpert69 Aspirant (214) Aug 2, 2017 Pennsylvania

    Can Stone Pale Ale come back pls?
  7. DEdesings57

    DEdesings57 Zealot (543) Aug 26, 2012 New Jersey

    Why have you vanished from participating on BA until now ?
  8. Shanex

    Shanex Meyvn (1,445) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    Hello Greg and thanks for chiming in here,

    My question is as simple as it comes: unlike Germany, Belgium or the UK, and beside the northern tip of France (Bière de garde) and Alsace and its proximity to Germany, there isn’t a long history in France with beer.

    However we are trying to catch up.

    My question: I’m glad that Stone Berlin exist for most of Europe except us (trust me, I looked everywhere), any chance to see Stone hitting our shelves? I reckon other breweries in your guys state like Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas are beginning to be widely distributed both in supermarkets and bars, so when Stone?

    Many thanks and cheers!
    2beerdogs, GetMeAnIPA and mikeinportc like this.
  9. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (2,197) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Hi, Greg. Will the original recipes of Stone IPA or Ruination ever make a return, even if on a limited basis?

  10. travolta

    travolta Champion (813) Feb 4, 2004 California

    hi Greg!
    I’ve been drinking and loving Arrogant Bastard for twenty years now.
    Is it just me, or has the recipe, ingredients, or process changed at all to make it?
    It has tasted ever so slightly different for a few years now.
    Curious of your thoughts on that.

    thank you for making a wonderful product!
    thesherrybomber likes this.
  11. mac_tre

    mac_tre Initiate (26) May 22, 2018 California

    Is it true you carry sharpies on you for autographs?
    travolta, Jaycase and jrnyc like this.
  12. dovek

    dovek Initiate (115) Jun 21, 2019 Illinois

    Hey Greg,
    Which countries do you see really developing a strong craft beer scene in 2020?
    2beerdogs likes this.
  13. Kraftworks

    Kraftworks Initiate (16) Jan 26, 2019 Oregon

    Will Ruin 10 ever come back?
    ericwo, Jaycase, dcotom and 6 others like this.
  14. Brewday

    Brewday Initiate (145) Dec 25, 2015 New York

    Is there a problem with east coast distribution. You built a plant in Virginia (they make a great Xocoveza) but i only find most of your beers when i visit NC and not in NY. One example was your 4th of July pack.
    #14 Brewday, Dec 4, 2019 at 6:47 PM
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 6:55 PM
  15. debaun27

    debaun27 Aspirant (284) Oct 3, 2014 Massachusetts

    Hi Greg - Thanks for joining.

    In major cities across America (eg. Boston, Chicago, Austin) it looks like the craft beer scene has reached a saturation point, where the barrier to entry for a new brewery is beginning to rise. Do you have any thoughts on where you see the future of the industry in America? Do you expect smaller scale consolidation?
    2beerdogs, AlcahueteJ and timobkg like this.
  16. bilbobrewer

    bilbobrewer Disciple (302) Jul 16, 2014 Oregon

    The presumption that everyone you want to reach is on at least one of Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, etc. is a mistake, IMO.
    Maybe I'm wrong...but I am a beer customer. Which makes me right.
  17. LeeMarvin

    LeeMarvin Initiate (196) Jan 15, 2005 Massachusetts

    Please bring back your Russian Imperial Stout, which is one of the best beers ever created.
  18. JOTAS

    JOTAS Initiate (154) Jan 10, 2008 Virginia

    What are you drinking right now that really has impressed you, besides the Stone stuff?
    jdurey, 2beerdogs, AlcahueteJ and 3 others like this.
  19. stephenwhite92

    stephenwhite92 Initiate (19) Apr 14, 2019 Missouri

    Hey Greg,

    What advice do you have for a young person trying to get into brewing and how they can become a successful brewer with hopes to open their own brewery?

    KRug and GOBLIN like this.
  20. AmIEvil714

    AmIEvil714 Initiate (25) Wednesday Pennsylvania

    1. What's a huge Metallica fan gotta do to get one of those amazing Metallica music boxes that you mailed to bloggers? I'm willing to beg.

    2. Any favorite shows/songs/highlights from the tour? I traveled to the S&M shows but unfortunately couldn't make it to your/Blackened events but I had a few Enter Nights while at the shows...and the Nashville and Philly shows.

    3. Is this going to be a permanent fixture in your line of beers?
    KRug and ECOBOOSTINST like this.
  21. Drunken_Master

    Drunken_Master Initiate (80) Mar 6, 2014 California

    Morning Greg,

    I was just wondering why the format was changed from the anniversary party during the last two years (this years & last) Not many attendees were content with said decision & felt that it was both a bit of a letdown & downgrade as most of the better options were available for general admission rather than VIP. Perhaps this can be revisited & brought back to it's original form circa 2017 and/or below being held at CSUSM and bringing back the food set up (duck tacos & others) nearby the VIP section once again.Thanks for hearing me out, and appreciate that you are participating back again in the forums despite being busy as we all are.


    jrnyc likes this.
  22. Redheelr

    Redheelr Aspirant (222) Feb 10, 2016 Colorado

    Hi Greg!! I met you at Euclid Hall here in Denver years ago. I guarantee you don't remember me but I totally remember you!

    Anyway, my question is: what is your take on the slow down of craft beer sales and the uptick of other alcohol beverages such as hard seltzers, ciders, and other drinks? I have seen a lot in the news about this craft beer sales decline. What are your predictions, opinions, or other information you might have about this new non-beer phenomenon?

    (My personal opinion is craft seltzer can to kick rocks)
    AlcahueteJ and debaun27 like this.
  23. Bevvcom

    Bevvcom Initiate (130) Apr 13, 2019 Florida

    Would you ever consider selling your limited editions and one-offs online directly to your consumer outside of the state of CA? Given that you have such a massive brand, so many consumers don't get access to most of your experimental beers and others outside of the distro market..... Cheers!
    mikeinportc likes this.
  24. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,119) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    And was one of them Kings and Convicts? :wink:
    Jaycase, jrnyc, meefmoff and 6 others like this.
  25. cryptichead

    cryptichead Meyvn (1,408) Jul 3, 2014 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I just watched the movie on Prime and really enjoyed it. Thank you for answering our questions.

    How much of the short tenure at the Berlin brewery do you attribute to the expenses incurred on remodeling the old building, the constant delays in opening, and its location? In retrospect would you have chosen a smaller, more convenient, and more "up to code" location?

    How hard was the decision to sell the brewery to BrewDog? Was it driven purely by finances? What is BrewDog able to do differently at that location that you wish you would have thought of at the time? Is Stone still being brewed at that location on a contract basis? Was it a consideration to take on contract brewing to salvage the location?
    mikeinportc and debaun27 like this.
  26. tolar111

    tolar111 Crusader (715) Aug 17, 2008 New York

    I Enjoyed the film. Not many public figures would allow that level of access.
    I'm worthy, you're worthy, fight the power!
    KRug, mikeinportc and jrnyc like this.
  27. Bertdil

    Bertdil Initiate (53) Dec 14, 2014 California

    I just had the pleasure of having my favorite Stone beer - Sublimely Self Righteous Black IPA - at the Escondido Brewery (my own humble brag) last week. Any chance of that being distributed in bottles again? Or how about the Pataskala Red?

    Regarding the movie (very interesting, if a bit sad at the end) - do you anticipate similar challenges with your new location in China that you experienced in Berlin?
  28. JFrez145

    JFrez145 Initiate (23) May 14, 2018 New York

    Hey Greg, love Stone, and I was able to hit up your Richmond brewery a couple years ago. Great spot!

    What factors contribute to the shelf stability of beer styles? Why can an imperial stout be cellared for 3 years and arguably get better, while many IPAS taste like soggy cardboard after a few months?
    ECOBOOSTINST likes this.
  29. waytogo

    waytogo Initiate (54) Feb 4, 2012 Louisiana

    Greg, it's great to see you take questions. I enjoyed the movie as it was done very well.

    My question is a selfish one. The last 18 months the New Orleans area hasn't gotten any Enjoy By and very few of the Stone beers that are said to have been released country wide. I know we have arse-hole distributors who kneel to the gods of fuzzy, yellow beer but is there something going on other than these distributors? I know many bottle shops and they all say the same thing, "we don't even have the chance to get those beers anymore".
    Please help this Stone fan-boy.
    Met you once when you were in town and you were very friendly to us beer nerds.

    KRug and mikeinportc like this.
  30. StoneGreg

    StoneGreg Initiate (78) May 16, 2002 California

    A lot to unwrap here, but I think your insights as a German are on target. Yes, it has clearly been more difficult for craft beer to take hold in Germany. It’s a very entrenched market. I’ve found in life that any time / place where you have people that feel they already know the answer...be it cars, politics, the opposite sex, the best Thai food, beer, etc....is when you have the LEAST interesting conversations (it can have all the metaphorical depth of that car window sticker of Calvin peeing on one car brand’s logo or another).

    * I don’t see Untappd tickers moving the needle that much to be honest. In our small insular world, yes, but in the larger ‘real’ world the market forces are much different and more ‘macro.’
    * Freshness is always an issue. Everywhere. At all times. I can recall countless conversations of the same thing in the US in the early ‘90s.
    * Passion. Again. Agree. Same thing everywhere on the planet, and throughout time. Doesn’t matter if it’s craft beer, grunge music, or trying to be an Instagram influencer...there’s few passionate originators and a lot of bandwagon jumpers hoping to cash in. Yes, some newer entrants can be talented and passionate...and I am grateful to them for bringing their art to the scene as it’s always welcome.
    * Price. Yes, Germany is the cheapest Western European country for beer. I don’t know any product or service when you can have both “the cheapest” and “the best” at the same time.
    * Mindset. Yes, I have learned that anyone anywhere who “already knows the right way” is the slowest to adopt or even be open to new mindsets.

    No, that’s not correct about Arrogant Bastard Ale in Germany.

  31. StoneGreg

    StoneGreg Initiate (78) May 16, 2002 California

    Sorry, I had to look them up just now. Looks like an awesome place. Wasn’t previously familiar I’m sorry to say. Shorter answer is no.
    2beerdogs, AlcahueteJ and LGHT like this.
  32. StoneGreg

    StoneGreg Initiate (78) May 16, 2002 California

    LOL. Not so many.
    Jaycase and AlcahueteJ like this.

    DISKORD Disciple (384) Feb 28, 2017 North Carolina

    What made you choose Germany?
    DiUr likes this.
  34. vanfan24

    vanfan24 Initiate (15) Feb 3, 2019 Pennsylvania

    Hey Greg. LOVE Stone!!! How long can Xocoveza be cellared? Can all bottled stouts be cellared or just barrel aged?
    KRug and dukeandduke like this.
  35. ark1ebs

    ark1ebs Initiate (116) Jan 26, 2006 Arkansas

    Hey StoneGreg. I just stopped in Beer Lovers in Vienna, Austria and those guys love you there.


    How long did it take you to regret shaving your beard?

    P.S. The movie was awesome. Honestly, I always though you came off kind of cocky. But seeing some behind the scenes of your passion project made me really respect you man. Keep up the good work!
  36. alamode

    alamode Disciple (373) Mar 25, 2007 Massachusetts

    Hey Greg. Any chance you'll ever release the original recipe Ruination again? That beer is amazing when fresh.
    Ronmarley1 likes this.
  37. OCBeerNerd

    OCBeerNerd Initiate (51) Apr 28, 2015 California

    Some questions from a lapsed fan —

    1. Why does Stone tout freshness but let the beers rot on warm shelves at Target and big boxed stores? Lots of expired beer in SoCal.

    2. Why fight against true hazy IPAs? People want them.

    3. Why are you still packaging in 22 oz bombers and gouging on price per ounce?

  38. dlcarst

    dlcarst Disciple (305) Aug 21, 2015 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Will you every bring back Double Bastard and Old Guardian? These beers (and Smoked Porter, Sublimely Self Righteous...) , the experimentation and variety, are what made me love Stone. In the last three years, I've only bought about 3-4 single cans of Stone a year since they became an almost exclusively-IPA brewery. I used to buy 8-10 Stone six packs per year. The IPAs are good, but everyone has local breweries that make them just as well (or better). Are there any plans to return to more variety, or is the IPA thing long-term?
  39. jjamadorphd

    jjamadorphd Meyvn (1,200) Jul 21, 2012 Florida

    Thank you sir for stopping in and taking questions...

    What was the most difficult aspect you experienced of starting up a brewery?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  40. dtmrm

    dtmrm Initiate (19) Nov 11, 2018 New Jersey

    No question Fear Movie Lions is my favorite beer ever. Never stop doing what you're doing. That is all.
    Jaycase, StoneGreg, 2beerdogs and 2 others like this.
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