This week, our tap takeover features Stone Brewing, a true cornerstone of the California craft beer industry. Let’s take a peek into their past and their mission.
While it feels like Stone has been here since the, well, Stone Ages, the company was actually founded in 1996 by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. Their mission at the time was pretty simple but very personal: Koch and Wagner were exhausted and bored by the commercial beer offerings of big-name companies. They wanted to make beers that were exciting, unusual, and chock full of flavor.
Upon opening their warehouse in Solana Beach, the pair were delighted to find the craft beer world was welcoming and immediately warm to them. They made connections with many other craft beer companies, including AleSmith, Blind Pig, and the folks who would go on to Automatic Brewing.
Vince Marsaglia of Pizza Port fame bought Stone’s very first keg of Stone Pale Ale, their first brew. So you can see, Stone was already becoming a cornerstone in the community with their very first beer.
The Stone website has a great timeline of how all their incredible beers came to be. But here are a few highlights from some of our favorites:
- August 1997 – Stone IPA is released, long before IPAs were as sought after as they are now.
- November 1997 – Arrogant Bastard is released, born of a mistaken recipe back in Wagner’s homebrewing days.
- July 2000 – Stone Imperial Russian Stout is released and becomes such a quick favorite that the United States government finally recognizes the style
- February 2002 – The Epic Series begins, marking Stone’s first Belgian and the beginning of their yearly series releases, which finished on 12/12/2012.
Now, Stone is known all over the world as the craft brewery that stayed true to their roots. You can find them all over the United States, and not just on liquor store shelves, but in brewing facilities in Virginia and shops in Chicago, too. Stone is available in over 40 countries all over the world.