Stone Brewing: Why We Have Chosen Not To Sell Out To Big Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by CJNAPS, Mar 9, 2016.

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    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

  2. matcris

    matcris Meyvn (1,171) Sep 17, 2015 Arizona

    I did recently see this video in another thread, don't remember which, though. I do like his ideals, and the fact that he walks the talk. I emailed Stone a little while ago and got some good news. The plans to come to my neck of the woods are "in the works". So, I'm definitely looking forward to that.

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Nice, I figured it was some where on here I just couldn't find it. Enjoy that Stone when it gets to you brotha cheers.
  4. EdwardAbbey

    EdwardAbbey Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2015 Washington

    I think Stone is one of the all-time great macro-micros; and this video helps to show why. Whatever one might think of his rhetoric, I don't doubt a single word Greg Koch utters in this clip. He's a true believer, and one in a position where his (earnest) beliefs matter. Between such principled convictions at the top, their overall size, and the quality of their products, Stone is arguably in a league of their own.
  5. PorterPro125

    PorterPro125 Champion (851) Jan 19, 2013 Canada (NB)

    I think it's great that Koch (and others at Stone) are staying true to what they believe in and not giving in to Big Beer. With that being said, "selling out" isn't all that bad either. In most cases, it leads to your product being distributed in ways and places that were previously impossible.

    Case in point: Goose Island.

    5 years ago (2011), nobody had ever seen any of Goose Island's products here in New Brunswick. A year (maybe two) after "selling out" to AB InBev, we started seeing a ton of Goose Island products.

    Whether you think of it as "selling out" or an opportunity to make your product "bigger" (as I have pointed out), you can't help but respect the decision to stay true to beliefs, as Koch has done.

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    I agree with you for sure.
    ryhayes and EdwardAbbey like this.

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    The thing I really like about Stone is they're one of the breweries that help make California a "beercation" spot. Of course they are others but that Stone IPA help put the West Coast style of things out there for good when it came to beer and I'm a big fan of my state, as most of you are with your states Cheers !
    #7 CJNAPS, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  8. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    I'll bet you Goose Island was better when you weren't getting any! I've already noticed a difference in Ballast Point's standard line-up since they've been bought out and now have full array of fruity versions of their beers. The Watermelon Dorado was awful...I'm not sure, but 'natural flavors added' weren't a part of their program before, no?!
    lateralusbeer likes this.
  9. edward_boumil

    edward_boumil Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2015 New York

    This video gives me a lot of respect for Stone Brewing. I mean I've always like them but I am a sucker for passion, putting all you can into your craft. So cool video for sure.
  10. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    I agree with you on the Watermelon Dorado tasting awful, but Grapefruit Sculpin still has that awesomeness going on in my opinion.
    ElijahSF likes this.
  11. edward_boumil

    edward_boumil Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2015 New York
    They've been adding fruit and whatnot for a while, is that what you mean?
    SirBottlecap likes this.
  12. corgistout

    corgistout Initiate (0) May 8, 2014 California

    All of those fruit flavored beers were pilot beers at their brewery for a long time. Seems like they bottled the ones that were popular. "Natural flavors added" is something they have to put on the labels by law. I do agree that Watermelon Dorado sucks though.
    SirBottlecap and CJNAPS like this.
  13. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (2,424) Sep 15, 2014 Colorado

    This is why Stone will always be one of the all-time great American craft breweries.
  14. Chcshammonde

    Chcshammonde Initiate (0) Sep 20, 2014 California

    Love to see this from Stone. I spent my formative years growing up in San Diego, and Stone was the brewery that everyone there loved and respected from the beginning. We used to challenge each other to drink a whole bomber of Arrogant Bastard because it was seen as an extreme beer! This was back in 2003. Now they are legends, with massive national and international distro with a huge brewery and pub going up in Richmond VA, and another one in Berlin. Yet they maintain quality and continue to push the envelope. Still one of my favorite breweries. Enjoy By IPA and Fyodors Classic are up there with the best I've had. I think it's safe to say I'll always rep Stone.
  15. thepenguin

    thepenguin Devotee (445) Aug 8, 2010 Massachusetts

    Greg is right on the money because he's talking about it on the macro, industry-wide level. Most of the time we debate the merits of selling out on this site we focus on ourselves as consumers (will QA be better, will they start distributing to me, will the beer become cheaper etc.) or on the benefits to the breweries. Greg reminds us that the US beer industry was brought to its knees largely due to big beer, that craft beer has created wonderful opportunities for small independent ventures and that craft beer stops being a movement when it becomes a division within a big beer company's portfolio.
  16. mwa423

    mwa423 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2007 Ohio

    I'll bet you you're wrong. I know some of their current and former brewery employees and brewmasters, every one has said the quality of the beer has improved. Also, I'm more than a bit skeptical that the ink was dry on the check from constellation and suddenly the new boss demanded they dump fruit syrup in their beer. These things often take a bit more time than constellation has owned it.

    But hey, enjoy your self imposed biases and close-mindedness. I'm going to go drink a four star pils.
  17. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    I look forward to the Enjoy by every time it is such a great beer. Arrogant bastard was my first "oh shit" beer too hahaha
    neenerzig likes this.
  18. mwa423

    mwa423 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2007 Ohio

    Stone is the perfect example of why the "independent brewery" will never die. As Greg Koch and others have stated (and are walking the walk) there are people who are content with what they have, don't need the money and would rather control their own destiny. This is a great thing, a wide variety of different courses of action keeps the competition interesting and drives innovation.
  19. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    Kinda. I noticed right away that the watermelon tasted like syrup and noticed that the label says 'with natural flavors' as opposed to Grapefruit Sculpin's label, which reads, "...with natural grapefruit flavor". I think the grapefruit is far more subtle (even more so since 'the takeover'...) than the watermelon and wondered if the wording reflects that or not.
    ElijahSF and edward_boumil like this.
  20. edward_boumil

    edward_boumil Initiate (0) Jun 28, 2015 New York

    Hmm, I see, very interesting point. Adding some grapefruit into a brew vs. adding cornsyrup with artificial watermelon flavoring is a massive difference.
    SirBottlecap likes this.
  21. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (2,140) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    Koch's message remains exactly the same over and over and over, and I like that he's not afraid to say it over and over and over. And he puts a sharp point on it when he says that if he sold his brewery for profit:

    "I'd be a rich moth## ####er that doesn't want to look in the mirror."

    He's a bit dramatic and noisy and thank god that he is ... it's comforting having him on that wall.
  22. Groenebeor

    Groenebeor Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2009 California

    Not to be mean, and being a bit facetious, but they did have a pretty huge infection issue after the buyout :stuck_out_tongue:
    lateralusbeer and SirBottlecap like this.
  23. Cannibalgasm

    Cannibalgasm Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2015 Minnesota

    Yet another reminder why since the beginning of my infatuation with craft beer Stone has and always will be one of my favorite breweries. I absolutely love Greg's passion for what he does.
  24. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,841) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Stone has always been at the top of my list, and will likely always continue to be. Amazing beer and a great mentality.
  25. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    Wow, somebody has a diaper that leaks! You sure read a lot into a little.
    First of all, l am VERY impressed that you know employees of Goose Island (former and present). I know employees at my local hardware store and they all agree that theirs' is the best hardware store around, too, even though they were bought out by Lowe's. (It might look bad if they said otherwise.)
    Anyway, l've had plenty of products for years before and after their takeover, Bourbon County and otherwise. I'm sorry my taste buds aren't in line with the rest of the crowd, but their standard line-up -the IPA, Honker's, etc. have changed. They all have a similar weird, yeasty taste. I can't help notice that, in the teeniest, tiniest print on the back label, they all say "Contains wheat". Did they before? I'm really not sure, but l'm sure your pals at GI can confirm or deny that. Changes don't take long when there is a big takeover, by the way. There is money to be made. Quality ingredients cost a lot more money. When's the last time somebody accused A-B of sparing no cost for quality?
    Also, read my post a little closer and see that l am genuinely wondering about Ballast Point. (see other post.)
    Another thing: is this how you would address someone in a bar? How hostile! "Self-imposed biases and close-mindedness"? You have no idea what my experiences with beer are or what l am or am not open to. I collect beer bottlecaps and have almost 6,000 different ones. I have been collecting them and drinking the beer beneath of at least two-thirds of them -many of them shitty repeat beers like Bud, my favorite CAPS of all-, plus countless other cap-less beers since 1988 (right around when you were born, according to your profile). I was drinking beer years before that. I've driven halfway across the country to go to beer festivals since you were four years old. ! "Close-minded"? I will try any beer put in front of me and rarely 'drain pour' (I tried to finish a Bud Light Platinum...tried.) I am always interested in a beer that is new or whose brewery or recipe has changed hands and have been both impressed and disappointed by the results (GI being an example of the latter, sorry). I have 'Not Your Father's Root Beer' in my frige right now. I bought it this time because of the cap -it finally got some graphics. But, I bought it for my first time some time ago, knowing goddamned well it would not taste like a beer and had a blank cap, but technically was beer and, while not terrible, l drank it and will drink the one in the frige. I would never criticize someone l didn't know for liking it or not liking it, that's for sure.
    The same goes for Goose Island. Tell your friends at the brewery that while their beer has changed for the worse (in my opinion, of course), their caps have made HUGE strides in the cap world, graphic-wise. Every brewery that has been taken over by A-B has done the same. Along with their new packaging, it seems to me to be a 'make our package flashier, spend less on ingredients' campaign, like sooo many others. (Again, my opinion, sorry...l've been drinking Trader Joe's beer) Also tell them I'd love to sample their "four star pils", even if it did used to be a "five star pils". Of course, I would be happy with a three-star pils. Cool cap or not.
    I'm sure my post hit a personal nerve in you because of your friends at Goose Island. "I bet" it wouldn't have otherwise. I will defend my local favorite brewery to the end, too, despite its hoppy beers having quite an onion taste lately, which l hate. Their imperial stout, however, is the best imperial stout ever*. Drop by, loosen up and l'll buy you one.
    The End.
    (*don't make me argue about this.)
    #25 SirBottlecap, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  26. SirBottlecap

    SirBottlecap Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2013 California

    True dat about the "natural ingredients added". It's funny how breweries will try to reword it.
    neenerzig likes this.
  27. 1000lbgrizzly

    1000lbgrizzly Meyvn (1,103) Jul 16, 2013 Illinois

    Greg's overacting, scripted "spur of the moment" jokes, and background-inspirational-wasteland music were cringey to watch, but I LOVE his message. It echoes what I believe, that big beer has the resources to buy out any "reasonable" brewery they want, any time, and that the only thing stopping them from doing this is individuals like himself and Sam Calagione and (many? a few?) others saying "We are happy making a modest/sizable profit, and we will not sell our souls and independence for more money, and possibly the entire craft beer movement." Good on you, Greg (even though your PR skills here can be abrasive, ahem). Everyone has a price, it's just that some, like Greg and Sam and others, set it unreasonably high, and THAT is why craft beer will never die.
    :,) someone get me a fucking Delicious IPA.
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  28. Wasatch

    Wasatch Poo-Bah (7,332) Jun 8, 2005 Colorado
    Society Trader

    Very Nice! Always have been a Stone fan.

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  29. neenerzig

    neenerzig Poo-Bah (2,785) Feb 15, 2006 Ohio

    Thanks Greg for reminding me about the reasons why I love Stone so much besides the kickass beer you guys make!

  30. jmasher85

    jmasher85 Zealot (574) Mar 27, 2015 Maryland

    Also keep in mind that without GI's sellout, there's no way they would have had a big enough piggy bank to issue refunds for all those infected BCBCS and BW bottles (though whether the infection happened as a result of AB's tampering is also a question).

    But it's nice for Stone (and Anchor, Sierra Nevada, BBC, Yuengling, DFH, etc.) that they got huge over 20+ years on their own and don't need to worry about selling out anymore. They became household names before the market was as crowded as it is now, and they stuck out more. Maybe if Ballast Point, Breckenridge, GI, et al. would have held out longer and got better PR and distributor reps, they would be as big as Stone and not need to sell out. Or maybe Greg has an unnatural hatred of The Man that make him the rare Capitalist who's happy not to give in to greed at the expense of principle.
    PorterPro125 likes this.
  31. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,169) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    Great video, love Stone and Greg.
  32. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (350) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    I bet once the richmond brewery gets fully operational they'll be able to distribute to the 50 states.
    StoneBrewing, CJNAPS and matcris like this.
  33. Homers_Beer_Odyssey

    Homers_Beer_Odyssey Initiate (0) Jun 17, 2014 New York

    seemed like he gave careful consideration to "hookers and blow."
    HorseheadsHophead likes this.
  34. stickboy1125

    stickboy1125 Initiate (0) Jan 28, 2012 Virginia

    I recall reading in another thread the the watermelon dorado has watermelon AND cucumber flavors added so maybe thats why the label doesn't specify watermelon.
    SirBottlecap likes this.
  35. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Poo-Bah (2,902) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Thumbs up to @StoneGreg and Stone Brewing. Some of their beer will always be in my fridge and they're always my first stop on visits to Southern California.
  36. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    In that opinion about GI, you would be dead wrong. Most of the GI product that is being brought to these markets is brewed at a facility which is closer to them. i.e. fresher, and less stressed from the travel and going through different distribution networks to get there. What the Chicago facilities didn't have resource wise before. They do now.
    And infections in a barrel program where you are immediately re-using a barrel for its original inhabitants characteristics? If you believe anything other than aging in barrels is a crapshoot. No amount of affordable work, nor science, nor its related staff can predict their outcome when you stick something in them (again). Then you are doing it wrong.
    mwa423 likes this.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,552) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Awesome video!!

    Cheers to @StoneGreg and the entire Stone Brewing team!
  38. sybian

    sybian Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2010 New Jersey

    The problem is GI is pushing out smaller breweries. AB doesn't give a damn about making better beer, they are trying to monopolize taps and shelf space. They have been caught illegally paying bars to devote taps to AB products. They didn't pay $1 Billion for Ballast Point to make a profit, they bought it to gain a well known, popular "craft beer" label. GI almost immediately appeared in every bar across the country. Most bars and stores devote a percentage of taps and shelves to Macros and crafts. AB wants to push out the crafts by buying the largest, then pushing others to compete for less space.

    This will cause a lot of small breweries to go out of business, and inhibit people from opening a new brewery. Worse, AB is purchasing distributorships, and bribing stores to buy a larger percentage of AB products. I can't fault the owners of Ballast Point and others for selling, that is an enormous sum of money, and I don't know what other factors weighed into their decision. I just can't see this as a good thing for consumers. It's impossible to maintain the quality when you start mass producing to that extent, plus AB isn't known for using top quality ingredients. How long before they start cutting corners, decreasing costs to increase profits? They don't give a damn about craftsmanship, they want to make as much as they can, push the quality down until sales decrease below the amount they save on cutting corners.
    SammyJaxxxx, jrnyc, nc41 and 2 others like this.
  39. CJNAPS

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    Their place is always a stop for me as well. Their mix 12 packs are always a pick up for sure,and I never miss RuinTen when it comes out.
    StoneBrewing and yemenmocha like this.
  40. sybian

    sybian Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2010 New Jersey

    Yeah, I realized after I submitted. I used AB as a general reference for all the big boys.
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