Stone ‘Fortunate’ on Expansion as a National Brand

With its launch recently in West Virginia, Stone Brewing is now a legitimate national brand. That won’t change the attitude or scope of the brewery through, which already knew it had fans not just coast to coast, but worldwide.

“In the last five years or so, we’ve been making moves to close the gaps in our national footprint so there isn’t much dramatic change to our sales and production,” said Stone CEO Dominic Engels. “This milestone is about our fans and their ability to get Stone beers. That’s where the impact is going to be felt.”

Stone took on 2017 with aggressive expansion plans made possible by the addition of its Richmond, Virginia facility that touts a 250-barrel brewhouse.

State distribution expanded to include Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi and culminated with West Virginia. In addition to all 50 states and Washington D.C., Stone also distributes to 35 countries and Puerto Rico.

In a world where there are few craft brewers with 50-state distribution, it’s a differentiation point that Engels said the San Diego-based company is very proud of.

“We’re fortunate, in that there was a window in time when we really created a national brand that now in many ways gets permission to play on equal footing with local brands,” he said. “To a certain extent, that window has closed to many other brands now, just by nature of today’s craft beer environment.”

Opening the east coast brewery helped achieve more freshness, which was paramount to Stone, so that the same flavors brewed in San Diego could be enjoyed in the farthest reaches of the US. And after opening in Germany as well, the brewery didn’t have to worry about quality overseas as well.

“Getting fresh Stone beer to as many fans as possible is what we do on a day-to-day basis,” Engels explained. “Reaching all 50 states doesn’t change that. … We were born and raised in San Diego but we’re global craft beer citizens. We know we have fans in other parts of the world and we know they want fresh Stone beer so we will continue to seek out growth opportunities to get the right beer to the right accounts and in the hands of our fans. That’s what we do.”

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