Rolling Stones: The 2013 Great American Beer Festival

You’ve heard the legend of a cavernous hall filled to the brim with beer from around the country. Maybe you’ve even experienced for yourself the glories of unlimited pours of more than 3,100 brews. But you haven’t seen the Great American Beer Festival—the country’s largest annual suds celebration—from the perspective of Team Stone before…until now. We just got back from this massive and spectacular event, and are ready to give you a behind-the-scenes view of our GABF experience

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Happy 16th Birthday To Us

July 26, 1996. A sliver in time that shall go down in history as the day the world changed forever! Well, perhaps a bit of hyperbole, but it was the day that the first keg of Stone Pale Ale was ever sold. (Kudos to our buddy Vince Marsaglia from Pizza Port Solana Beach for coming to pick it up! … ‘course back then, there was only one Pizza Port, so putting Solana Beach to its name wasn’t necessary.)

We’re celebrating here as anybody should for their Sweet 16, with pillow fights, gossip, and a shiny new driver license a really stellar cake! Besides all the obvious perks of working at a brewery, we’re fortunate enough to have a really talented kitchen crew at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, and our pastry chefs were kind enough to whip something up for Team Stone as a small token of appreciation for all the hard work they do.

Stone Brewing Co. 16th Anniversary Cake

Reason #456,742,403 why it doesn’t suck to work here

To answer your question, this deliciously decadent mochaccino cake made with layers of almond biscuit, pecan candy, chocolate cremeux, and coffee mousse was just as ridiculously good as it looks. And those mini “tap handles” you see? They’re made of fondant mixed with various herbs and spices to resemble our original tap handles which were actual stones that Greg used to go out and find at the beach on his “days off.” Pastry chefs Tony Martin and Tonya Ziegler (pictured below with GK) really knocked it out of the park!

Ye olde Stone Brewing Co. tap handles

Stone tap handles from days of yore

Stone Brewing Co. 16th Anniversary Cake

Pastry chefs Tonya Ziegler and Tony Martin show off their tasty creation with GK

In the midst of devouring this cake like rabid dogs who hadn’t eaten in a week, we collectively took a moment to recognize the incredible growth that Stone Brewing Co. has seen over the past 16 years, and how we couldn’t have done it without YOUR continued support and dedication! THANK YOU!

And while we can’t get each and every one of you a piece of cake, we can keep cranking out insanely good beers, and hosting epic events to showcase the glory of craft beer! (Like next month’s Stone 16th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival.</plug>)

Cheers to our first 16 years, and to the next 16! Thanks for being our friends.

Cheers To An Amazing Year!

2011 is drawing to a close, and we’d like to send out a huge thank you to all our fans. With your help, we’ve accomplished some amazing things this year.


The brewing team has been rocking it this year, making over 25 different beers in the last 12 months. Among them were seven special releases, including the mammoth & widely lauded Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA.


We began releasing our sought-after and delicious barrel-aged beers in 500ml bottles this year, and you blew us all away by raising $15,000 for charity with the very first release. Read More

We Know What We Did Last Year…

Jacob McKean

Yes, we know, it’s February, and we’re just now finishing up our list of accomplishments from 2010. But once you scroll down a bit, you’ll realize why it took us a little time: we did A WHOLE LOT last year. Stone is growing at a geometric rate, and is set to become self-aware in 2014. We will then challenge IBM supercomputer Watson to a game of pinochle, which will be broadcast on network television.

All kidding aside, we are mighty proud of everything we managed to do last year. The list pretty much speaks for itself, so without further ado…here’s what we did last year (ed. note: Greg has said that if we accomplish three times as much this year, we’ll get beer-filled Faberge eggs for Christmas.)


  • Highest Rated and Most Popular Brewery, Ever!–BeerAdvocate Magazine (2nd year in a row)


  • Installed centrifuge, improving filtering and reducing beer loss by 5%
  • Released first Belgo version of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine on a limited draft only basis


  • Stone hosted the second most attended rally in the history of the American Homebrewers Association
  • Opened our new (to us) 59,500 square foot Warehouse and Distribution building
  • Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale went to full-time year-round status


  • Stone Brewing Co. rocked Chicago with 10 epic days of roll-out events and served over 240,000 12oz servings of our beer in one month.
  • Conducted the 5th annual Craft Beer Wholesaler’s Conference (founded by Greg Koch and Arlan Arnsten) at the Craft Brewers Conference


  • Released first Belgo version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout on a limited draft only basis


  • Opened the new 11,000 square foot Los Angeles area branch for Stone Distributing in Carson, CA
  • Opened Catering / Commissary Kitchen on Harmony Grove, Escondido
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout – 10th Anniversary Blend released


  • Built a new fermenting cellar, moved 6 fermentors, and installed 8 new fermentors (each holding 360 bbls)
  • Released Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA, perhaps the world’s first all-English-hops-and-malt West Coast-style double IPA


  • Kicked off the Inaugural “Stone Anniversary Celebration – Brewers/VIP Reception” event at CSUSM, attended by 425 people
  • Stone 14th Anniversary Celebration & Invitational Beer Festival had 5,725 attendees and raised more than $200,000 for local charities
  • Conducted “Open House Career Fair” with over 200 attendees
  • Completed the membrane filtration and RO filter process for wastewater recovery and started using reclaimed water for cleaning and other utility operations
  • Brewed our first “fruit beer” the Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale with wine grapes


  • Won 2 medals at the Great American Beer Festival – our most ever!

o   Silver medal: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Chipotle Peppers in the Herb & Spice or Chocolate Beer category

o   Bronze medal: Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale in the American Style India Black Ale category

  • Stone CEO Greg Koch gave the Keynote Speech to 100 managers for BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse chain
  • Stone was #32 in the San Diego Business Journal 100 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies for 2010, making Stone one of a select few companies to make the list in each of the seven years of the award’s existence
  • Showed our 70th movie in the Gardens since we began our summer movie series at the Stone World Bistro & Gardens


  • Stone CEO Greg Koch conducted 7 events in 7 cities in 7 days for the 2010 Stone Total Tap Tower Takeover Tour, resulting in capacity crowds in all 7 cities
  • Stone CEO Greg Koch was knighted by the Belgium Brewers Federation
  • Installed 3 new Bright Beer tanks – 2 @ 650 bbls; 1 @ 360 bbls


  • Local sales successfully completed over 90 events for San Diego Beer Week
  • Stone Brewing initiated the first annual “Winner, Winner Turkey Dinner” for Thanksgiving and donated 50 complete meals to Casa de Amparo
  • website revamped and relaunched
  • Hosted a Pink Boots Society meeting for women in the brewing industry and a Master’s Brewers Association  [District] Southern California Meeting
  • Brewer Exchange: Hosted BrewDog brewer Graeme Wallace for 2 weeks. Stone Brewing’s Kris Ketcham went to BrewDog in Scotland for 2 weeks
  • Opened new HQ offices on Harmony Grove, Escondido
  • Built new office for the brewing team
  • Arrogant Bastard Ale celebrated its Lucky 13th by introducing the world to its half-brother, Lukcy Basartd Ale in November.
  • Stone Cali-Belgique IPA / Stone Cali-Belgie IPA went to full-time year-round status


  • For the 5th year in a row Stone Brewing collected over 1,000 pounds of food in the annual food drive!
  • Hired the 351st Team Stone member; recruited and filled 238 FT/PT positions


Whew! That’s a whole lot of stuff. But that’s not all folks! There’s more!


  • TripAdvisor named Stone as one of “America’s Top 10 Brewery Tours.”
  • We hosted two blood drives, which resulted in 154 people donating 137 pints (enough to save up to 333 lives according to the San Diego Blood Bank!)
  • Added three new full time Sales Representatives to our SoCal Sales Team, representing Stone and our portfolio of other craft and specialty beers


  • Stone brewed 115,000 barrels of beer in 2010 (ed. note: to put this in perspective, that’s substantially less than a mega-brewer makes in a day)
  • Stone Brewing Co. grew 31% in beer sales in 2010
  • Stone Brewing won beer awards at the Australian International Beer Festival, GABF, Stockholm Beer & Whiskey Festival, European Beer Star, BeerAsia, and numerous other local, regional, and national beer festivals
  • 38,032,800 twelve ounce servings of Stone beer were consumed in 2010 by loyal Stone fans and our own team members
  • Stone Brewing Co. became the 9th largest craft beer supplier to grocery stores in 2010 up from #10 a year ago (Symphony IRI stats)

o   21st Amendment/Firestone-Walker/Stone El Camino Unreal Ale (Jan)

o   Dogfish Head/Victory/Stone Saison du BUFF (Mar)

o   Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair/Stone San Diego County Session Ale (Jul)

o   Green Flash/ Pizza Port Carlsbad / Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale (Dec)

  • Collaboration brews brewed at other breweries:

o   Saison du BUFF at both Dogfish Head and Victory

o   Fat Head’s/Stone Blacken Your Rye at Fat Head’s Brewery in Cleveland (Oct)


  • 47,204 folks took the Stone Brewing Tour in 2010, a 36% increase over 2009
  • Since setting up the “online charitable donation form” Stone has received well over 1,500 hundred requests for beer…or an average of over 136 each month, or nearly 5 each day!
  • And we have donated to 322 different charities in the past year w/ a total of 7,190 case equivalents…which comes out to 1,044 kegs…or over $330,100.00 worth of beer.
  • We more than tripled the number of Stone Facebook fans, from 18,502 to 63,606
  • We increased our Twitter followers by 57%, from 14,000 to 22,000 (approximately)
  • In the past year, the combined Stone Websites have had over 4,473,959 page views; over 60% being new visitors. About 8% of those visits came from 161 different countries/territories
  • We sold out 50 of 52 ticketed events
  • Every ticketed event at Stone during San Diego Beer Week was sold out, except for the inaugural Rare Beer Breakfast (which turned out to be a good thing). Stone hosted a total of thirteen events over SDBW’s ten days
  • We replied to more than 21,000 fan emails


  • Stone Distributing Escondido received over 1,098 truckloads of beer from the brewery
  • Stone shipped 800 truckloads of beer across the country for national distribution
  • Stone Distributing Co. delivered to approximately 4,000 different stores and bars in Southern California
  • Stone Distributing added its first hybrid delivery truck to its fleet of 28 trucks – all refrigerated and otherwise bio diesel up to this point

New Beers Revolution!

Matt Steele
It’s been a full forty days since New Years, and you’re still adhering to your New Year’s Resolution with ironclad resolve. Nothing can get in your way as you charge headlong toward a healthier, more productive lifestyle. Right?

We’re realistic here at Stone. We know it’s not easy to stand by the fleeting promises we make to ourselves every year amid the clinking of celebratory beers and the invigorating prospect of a clean slate. While it may not be smart to make life-altering resolutions while adorned head-to-toe in confetti, dodging cheap fireworks and worshiping giant disco balls, the overall premise remains valid. We do believe in taking steps to improve ourselves and our communities, even though the odds are stacked against us. That’s why we started New Beers Revolution.

We thought you might enjoy knowing what we're doing here at Stone with ourselves and our coworkers.

This TEAM STONE ONLY competition is our way of inspiring self-improvement and community service while providing a solid support system to ensure we stick it out. New Beers Revolution encourages Team Stone participants to improve their bodies, minds, and communities for a period of three months. Contestants are given the option to compete as a team, and prizes are awarded to the winners thanks to the generosity of our co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner.

Speaking of Greg, he is the creative mastermind behind New Beers Revolution. Greg not only wanted to address the growing epidemic of broken New Years Resolutions, but he also wanted to dispel the popular myth that there exists such a thing as a “beer belly.” Armed with information from the American Medical Association (and common sense), Greg proved that there is no such thing as a “beer belly,” but rather a “lifestyle belly.” New Beers Revolution provides all the enthusiastic beer drinkers here at Stone another opportunity to prove to the world that enjoying craft beer can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

Here are just some of the goals that Team Stone members have set for themselves:

Physical Goals:
-    “Lose 40 pounds” (nearly everyone wants to lose weight)
-    “Train for and complete a marathon”
-    “Not just lose weight, but learn to live healthier”
-    “Drink more water”
-    “Run laps around Stone on my breaks”

Intellectual Goals:
-    “Write over 50,000 total words (blogs and novel projects)”
-    “Take and study Yoga to balance my mind, body, and spirit”
-    “Start my own blog and stick to it”
-    “Make the move to all-grain homebrewing”
-    “Read a minimum of one book per month”

Community Goals:
-    “Volunteer to read to people, probably at a retirement home”
-    “Work with a local elementary school to teach more about ‘green’ practices”
-    “Volunteer and assist with the Youth Group at my local church”
-    “Donate clothing, books, and other items laying around my house to charity”
-    “Buy only local produce and items from my local Farmer’s Market”

Fun quotes:
“Fit into my skinny jeans!”
“STOP smoking!!”
“Teach myself to juggle and learn Caligraphy.”
“Look more like Cary Grant (when he was 40, not 80).”
“No sugary cereal, no donuts!”
“Give Blood”
“Lose the ‘lifestyle belly’”
“Use my reusable Stone Chico bag!”
“No more energy drinks!”
“I’m going to give free golf lessons”
“Rally for cyclists rights!”

We’re very proud of all 42 Team Stone participants, and we wish them the best of luck. We also encourage our fans to join us in striving for positive change. Just because you’re not part of Team Stone doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference. New Beers Revolution isn’t about the prizes or the thrill of competition, it’s about lighting the fire under people and setting them on a life-long course of self-betterment and civil responsibility.

Good luck to all!

-Matt Steele

Check out our New Beers Revolution web page

Learn more about our New Beers Revolution Competition