It seems as if you cannot escape the fact that craft beer has been and continues to be in the news, whether its for the jobs it provides or for all of the new start ups. One of the largest craft brewer’s, Stone Brewing Co., is one that has been in the media spotlight over the course of the past year.
This past July, Stone announced their intention to build a brewery in the Berlin, Germany. While this news was released Stone continued to seek a new location in the Eastern United States just as Sierra Nevada, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium have recently done. Rumors were floating that Stone could land in the Carolinas, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia or a few other states. The three possible locations were narrowed down to Norfolk, Virginia, Columbus, Ohio and the now chosen location of Richmond, Virginia.
Yes, Richmond is set to become the future home for Stone’s new brewery and destination restaurant. The brewery is anticipated to open in late 2015 or early 2016 with Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens to open a year or two later. There is no word on if Stone is seeking the questionable crowd sourcing of funds as they did with their Berlin brewery announcement. It is stated that the initial investment for the brewery will be $74 million to employ upwards of 288 employees.
The production facilities will include a production brewery, packaging, administration offices, retail sales and a destination restaurant. This will all be located in Richmond’s Greater Fulton Community connecting to the east docks of the James River.
Stone’s new production facility will be constructed on 14 acres of land with a 200,000 square-foot production brewery and distribution facility. They will be brewing on a massive 250 barrel brewhouse. At this new facility, Stone will produce year-round and special-release beers for on-site consumption and distribution that will facilitate their growth in the Eastern US.
Once the brewery is complete the destination restaurant will be Stone’s next course of action. This restaurant is taking over a renovated two-story, 30,000 square-foot building and will span four acres. Their goal will also be to highlight locally grown, organic food that complements the harmonious nature and seasonality of the location’s surroundings.
Here is more from Stone Brewing’s press release:
ESCONDIDO, CA (Oct. 9, 2014) – Today, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co. announced it has signed a formal letter of intent with the City of Richmond, Virginia, signifying the company’s interest in building its East Coast facility in the city’s Greater Fulton Community. Subject to local approvals, Stone plans to invest $74 million to construct a production brewery, packaging hall, destination restaurant, retail store and its administrative offices. Construction of the facilities will occur in phases. The brewery is anticipated to be operational in late 2015 or early 2016, with Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens opening a year or two after that. Ultimately, the company will employ more than 288 people.
“The search for our location east of the Mississippi River was no easy endeavor,” said Stone President and Co-founder Steve Wagner. “We received and reviewed hundreds of proposals, visited more than 40 sites, and received quite a bit of attention from communities and craft beer fans. The three finalist cities each provided diverse offerings, however, we decided to begin next-step negotiations with Richmond because of their ability to meet our extensive site requirements, subject to the city’s approval. We also feel that Richmond’s vibrant energy and impressive craft beer culture, along with the uniqueness of the property, will allow us to create a truly memorable Stone experience for our fans. We are honored by the amount of time and effort all the communities that submitted proposals put forth, and we want to specifically thank Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones for welcoming us.”
Adds Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch, “A facility on the East Coast will allow us to meet demand for our beer, ensure we are providing our fans with the freshest beer possible and also serve as a distribution hub for states located east of the Mississippi. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the lively craft beer community in Richmond, the state of Virginia and the entire eastern U.S.”
Stone anticipates building a 200,000 square-foot production brewery and distribution facility on 14 acres of land. Equipped with a 250-barrel brewhouse, the brewery will produce year-round and special-release beers to be bottled, kegged and distributed, as well as enjoyed on-site. The company also plans to renovate a two-story, 30,000 square-foot building, transforming it into a destination restaurant spanning four acres and highlighting locally grown organic food, complementing the harmonious nature and seasonality of the location’s surroundings. The restaurant will feature beautifully landscaped gardens where visitors will be able to enjoy craft beer, dine and relax in an inviting atmosphere.
“Today’s announcement marks the fruition of months of partnership and aggressive efforts to show Stone Brewing Co. that Virginia is the best state for its new craft beer production and hospitality facility,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The company received submissions from more than 20 states, and the Commonwealth of Virginia was selected. This competitive, high-profile project really puts Virginia on the map and cements our standing as a serious player in the craft beer industry. In addition to Stone’s significant investment and more than 288 new jobs, the far-reaching economic benefits of this operation are innumerable. The City of Richmond offers the infrastructure, available site and building, and natural resources that will allow the company to thrive and grow, and we are confident that Stone will benefit from the Commonwealth’s excellent business environment for years to come. Today is an achievement of great magnitude, and we are excited to welcome Stone Brewing Co. to Virginia.”
“We are thrilled about Stone’s decision to choose Richmond as its East Coast production and distribution facility location,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. “After competing with 20 other states, we are so pleased that Stone has discovered those attributes that make Richmond a great place to do business. The fact that they have chosen a site in the Greater Fulton Community underscores their understanding of the rich history and natural assets that we have to offer. As they bring their unique craft beer and visionary business model here, I look forward to the many opportunities that lay ahead with Stone.”
This is the second expansion announcement Stone has made this year. In July, the company unveiled it will become the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe with the opening of Stone Brewing Co. – Berlin.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 20 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter at @hopapalooza.