The Fight Against Expired Beer

Jacob McKean

It is hard to overstate the importance of drinking fresh beer. But it may not be immediately obvious to the uninitiated that beer is best served fresh in the first place. It is, after all, fermented, and fermented foods often get better with age. Kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir, kombucha: these are foods whose quality depends on the serene patience of their creators, a willingness to let the invisible magic of fermentation happen at its own pace, and be ready to enjoy when it’s ready.

Further complicating matters is the fact that some beers do indeed improve with a degree of age. Properly cellared (55 degrees or less, dark, cozy), beers on the robust, high ABV end of the spectrum can evolve & improve with time.

The nine year-round beers we brew DO NOT fall into this category. They are—dare we say—delicate creatures that only express the full-spectrum of their brilliance when FRESH. Freshly brewed beer is bright & fragrant, with clean, well-defined flavors that reflect our brewer’s intent.

Once expired, beer can become a sad, faded reflection of its former self, as age, oxygen, and light sinfully corrode the precious liquid. Drinking such beer can leave a less than favorable impression that’s hard to shake.

For that reason, we go to tremendous, expensive lengths to ensure that fresh beer is available to you. But we can’t be everywhere at once. That’s why we need YOU to join in the fight against expired beer.

Hey, Chicago. The Least You Can Do is Send Us a Postcard.

Jacob McKean

The marketing manual for sheeple herding says that we’re supposed to engage you by soliciting user-generated content with catchy challenges like this: “Hey die-hard Stone fans! Show you’re the Ultimate Stone Head by posting sweet pics of you and your BFFs at Stone Beer Week-Chicago events on our Facebook fan page! And don’t forget to Twitterize us with #StoneWeek hash-tags! Win a Frisbee!”

But we know you’re a whole lot smarter than that.

In all seriousness, since we won’t be sending everyone from the brewery to Chicago this week, we’d like to get some vicarious pleasure from the absurdly decadent events we’ve been working so hard to plan, which is why we’re asking you, for real, to post those Facebook pics and Tweets about Stone Beer Week-Chicago.

So do us that favor, will ya?

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Now let’s back up a bit. As a supremely plugged-in Stone fanatic, you are undoubtedly aware that our exceptionally beautiful beers will finally be available in Chicago starting April 1st. Yes, the wait has been long and arduous for the legions of bastardly disciples in the Second City, but we aim to make up for lost time—in a hurry.

To that end, we have planned an epic week-long celebration of all things Stone, entitled Stone Beer Week-Chicago*. A veritable carnival of Arrogance will introduce us to Chicago with proper gusto from April 1st-9th.

This extravagant series of soirees will see us taking over an entire grocery store, hosting 30 taps at a single bar, offering an ultra-rare tasting of Stone Vertical Epic Ales with Greg Koch himself, grilling up Stone Smoked Porter sausages, presenting incredibly tasty barrel-aged versions of our most ambitious beers, pairing exceptional food with fine vintages from our past, and the list goes on and on…

Do those kinds of events sound enticing to you? What if I told you that the events mentioned above represent a mere fraction of the 34, yes thirty-four, events planned for Stone Beer Week-Chicago? And what if I added that the remaining Stone events will be every bit as awesome, such that Stone Beer Week-Chicago will feature a concentration of Stone awesomeness that the world has never seen before?

That would be exciting for you, wouldn’t it? Well that’s great, because while I’m stuck here in sunny San Diego, you’ll be cabbing/bussing/train-ing/shuttling/walking from one jaw-dropping Stone event to another, having the time of your life sipping some of the sweetest nectars this brewery has ever made.

So enjoy yourselves Chicagoans. You’ve earned it. Just don’t forget to send us a postcard, mmmmmk?

*Best said in a Big Announcer Voice with lots of reverb.

Stone to open a Brewery in Europe?

Greg Koch

This is a very exciting project for Steve and me…and all of us at Stone Brewing. We’re going to be learning quite a bit with this endeavor, first and foremost: Will we be welcome? We’re approaching this with no assumptions other than we’d like to consider any and all options (other than having our beers contract brewed by another brewery, as that’s simply not our style). Many of the countries of Europe have great brewing traditions. Some countries are also currently experiencing a bit of a resurgence of small, independent (and independent thinking) breweries. As anyone knows that has visited the Stone Brewing Co. and our attached restaurant – the Stone World Bistro & Gardens – where we have more Guest taps than we do of Stone, we enjoy sharing the camaraderie of great craft beers. We look forward to joining in the fight in Europe by doing our part to add to the growing trend towards unique, flavorful artisanal beers, as opposed to the mass-blandification efforts characterized by megabrand sameness!

READ THE PRESS RELEASE

Stone Invades Connecticut


As you know, over 59 million Americans tragically suffer from the devastating condition of Stone Deprivation, but the fortunate residents of Connecticut won’t have to suffer much longer. We’ll begin distributing in the Constitution State on September 22, making Connecticut the 32nd state to receive Stone beer.

To celebrate our benevolent invasion, we’ll be throwing a series of kick-off events. The first will take place on Tuesday, September 22nd at 6pm at Prime 16, and the second will be later that night at Delaney’s at 9pm. Check out our Stone CT Events google calendar for a complete list of kick-off bashes. Keep an eye out for our hard-working Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, and be sure to thank him for helping spread the Arrogance to your once-thirsty state.

Our Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, means business

Our Connecticut Sales Representative, Dennis Flynn, means business

If you’re dying to know what Stone beers will be available and where, consult the CT section of our distribution page, and don’t be afraid to make a few phone calls. And for those of you who still suffer from Stone Deprivation, know that we haven’t forsaken you. It’s only a matter of time until we stage a take-over of your state, so be patient. In the meantime, continue to drink local and champion the cause of craft beer!

-Matt Steele

Over 59 Million Americans Suffer From Stone-Deprivation


As you may already know, we’ll be expanding distribution into the incredibly lucky state of Connecticut near the end of September. The fair people of the Constitution State will soon be enjoying our sweet, hoppy nectar and dancing in the streets, rejoicing in their shared good fortune while poor, unfortunate beer geeks in Stone-deprived states will continue to languish in their cosmic misfortune, shaking their fists at the sky and wondering why the beer gods have forsaken them thusly. If you find yourself in the latter, ill-fated camp, let us explain how we choose new areas to distribute in so that you’re no longer doomed to a life of pleading for our beer over email, facebook and Twitter (yes, we hear you MO!), forever uninformed and feeling perpetually slighted. Believe it or not, it’s slightly more complicated than a coin toss or “eenie meenie miny moe” (slightly).

It all depends on three main factors. The first and foremost consideration is a no-brainer: Can we make enough beer? Usually the answer is no, because we’re busy trying to brew enough beer for our current areas of distribution. Sure, we’ve experienced ridiculously explosive growth since we opened our doors in 1996, but even with two new fermenters coming in and another building in the plans, we’re still hard-pressed to meet demand for our beer in our present territories. What can we say? We have thirsty fans…

The second consideration is that of demand. We have to ask ourselves if a new territory harbors sufficient demand for our beer, not only among fanatical beer geeks and hop-heads, but also retailers. Without considerable longing from both camps, expansion into a new territory is simply not wise. You see, we need steady turnover for our year-round fresh beers. Without that, our beers might sit waiting for the knowledgeable beer buyer just a little too long on the shelves.

The third and final variable is an acceptable distribution option. We need a wholesaler who 1) understands great beer, 2) is knowledgeable about how to sell great beer, 3) knows how to take care of great beer, 4) has the proper infrastructure to get it to all the great retailers in their region that would like to stock Stone.

Now for the question we always get: Do we ship directly to homes? No, we don’t—but dry up those tears and spare us the hate mail, because you have a few options. Below is a list of people who CAN ship you some Arrogance right to your doorstep:

- Hi Time Wine Cellar  (800-331-3005)
- Liquid Solutions  (503-496-1942)
- Bottle Trek  (1-866-503-9049)
- Beer on the Wall  (1-888-840-BEER)
- Arctic Liquor  (877-817-9463)
- Holiday Wine Cellar  (760-745-1200)
- South Bay Drug & Liquor  (619-424-5164)

These places will usually send a decent selection of our beers to MOST states. Keep in mind that many states prohibit the shipping of beer from out of state, and as such, are typically not on the “eligibility list” for many of these shippers. State laws are complex and change frequently, so some may ship where others will not and vice versa.

The bottom line is, we’ll get to your state eventually. Maybe. As long as we’re able to meet the above parameters. Although we may not have immediate plans to invade your state, we have heard your cries for help. In the meantime, do your best to advocate craft beer. Supporting your local craft breweries, requesting better beer from retailers, and helping to convert others is the fastest way to get the choices you want. Until then…CHEERS!

- Matt Steele

Arrogance Is Goin' South! Stone distribution opens up in Texas and the Southeast

Scott Sheridan and XXXXX, kicking off Stone in Florida Stone Regional Sales Representative Scott Sheridan kicks off Florida with help from Oldsmar Taphouse owner Tony Falso

Up here in the office between tours, those of us on the tour team have the distinct privilege of reading and responding to the fan mail that comes into the brewery daily. It is indeed very cool to know that, through our humble yet passionate efforts (well, maybe not humble), we have been able to turn so many people on to great beer. And do they let us know it! In the last couple of months we have been able to bring more Stone brews to more people in more places than ever before: Texas has received an expanded lineup of our beer, North and South Carolina are now receiving copious amounts of Arrogance for the first time, and so is the state of Georgia. Ain’t that a peach! But our southward march hasn’t ended there. Last week we FINALLY entered Florida, much to the rejoicing of Floridians all the way from the Panhandle to Key West!

These days, instead of receiving all those wistful—if not downright desperate—letters that start with the line “PLEASE sell your beer in [any one of previously Stone-free zones],” we are happy to be reading more and more letters from folks who can hardly believe their eyes when, upon unsuspectingly walking into their local bottle shop, they see before their disbelieving eyes the brown bottled deliciousness that is Stone, proudly declaring its residency for the first time! These thank you notes are a real shot in the arm, and its a great feeling to hear from so many happy Stone lovers. Here’s an excerpt from one such letter:

Moved to Raleigh NC five years ago and had to console myself with lesser brews since you didn’t distribute to my area. Imagine my happiness when I saw a big gargoyle display right by the front door of the Peace St. Market yesterday! I’m drinking my first Bastard in years as I type this. Thanks for finally sending your liquid heaven out to my neck of the woods!

Eric, Raleigh NC

And how about this one:

I just got the news of the DECADE today and discovered that you guys DO listen to your fans …you’ve actually started distributing to GEORGIA! I have one thing to say about that: HALLELUJAH!

Rory Atlanta, GA

The big push started back in September, when trucks full of Stone beer started rolling into Houston, Austin, Dallas, and Amarillo. Although two of our brews, Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale, had been readily available in the Lone Star State since 2001, there’d been an increasingly vocal demand for more of our beers to be added to the lineup. Working in conjunction with Ben E. Keith Company, we’ve finally been able to bring Stone Pale Ale, Stone Smoked Porter, OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale and Stone Ruination IPA into Texas as well—and our Texas brewery rep, Jason Armstrong, says the response among rejoicing Texans has been HUGE!

The response in Dixie has been no less enthusiastic. Our own Head Brewer, Mitch Steele, was in Georgia a couple of weeks back, where he and our Southeast Stone rep and native son of the South, Scott Sheridan, attended some of the Stone kick off celebrations at places like The Trappeze Pub in Athens. According to these two very seasoned veterans of the beer trade, they’d never before seen such a successful roll out. People were ecstatic!

Adam Smith, Salesman from Savannah Distributing

Adam Smith, a salesman from Savannah Distributing, was just a LITTLE excited to finally have the chance to get Stone out to his customers: He got some serious ink laid down on his right shoulder by Matt Roland at Tribal Urge in downtown Augusta. Way to represent, Adam!

And because one good turn deserves another, Mr. Sheridan has now headed down to Florida to usher in a great new era of great beer in the Sunshine State. Here’s what he said of the recent rollout:

“Sure Joe Maddon and the Rays made it to the World Series…Sure Tim Tebow and the Gators are having a great year…But what could be bigger than the arrival of Stone Brewing Co. in Florida? Uh…nothing!!”

Scott was on hand to celebrate the Florida kick off at the Gulf Coast’s Oldsmar Taphouse on Saturday, November 14th. On tap was a lineup of Stone beers as never seen before and, quite possibly, never again (at least not any time soon…). Year-round award winners such as Stone Pale Ale, Stone IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Smoked Porter, Stone Levitation Ale, Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale were gracing a Forida tap tower for the first time. He also managed to wrangle away from the Stone brewery in California archived masterpieces such as Stone 08.08.08 Veritcal Epic Ale, a trio of Stone Anniversary Ales featuring the 10th, 11th, and 12th versions, 2008 Imperial Russian Stout, 2008 Old Guardian Barleywine, 2008 Double Bastard Ale, and the gracefully aged 2006 Double Bastard Ale. Now THAT’S a kick off! Nicely done, Scott!

Back here in sunny So Cal (sat by the pool and read a sci-fi novel on this glorious 80 degree morning–not to gloat or anything), I look forward to hearing from all our new fans–and of course, our old friends too. So please drop us a line whenever you feel like sharing your enthusiasm with us. It really makes our day. Cheers!

-Ken Wright