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!
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!