This weekend, Stone Brewing Co., my employer, announced that it will be the first American craft brewing company to own and operate a brewery in Europe when it opens the doors to a 43,000-plus square foot production facility and Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens location in Berlin, Germany. As the head of social media for the company, I spent the weekend engaging with the public and answering their many questions. I was so consumed by the subject, that I nearly felt as though I was in Europe.
That feeling recurred this morning when I received news from Green Flash Brewing Company that they have something exciting going down in Europe as well. They are evolving their relationship with “sister” brewery St-Feuillien, going from annual collaboration brew partners to “production partners.” The Belgian company has begun brewing and packaging Green Flash West Coast IPA for distribution throughout Europe. The first 240-hectoliter batch of bottles and kegs are en route to Belgium, Switzerland, Austrian, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Finland and the United Kingdom.
Green Flash and St-Feuillien first teamed up in 2010 to create a blond Belgian strong ale dubbed Biere De L’Amitie, followed by a black saison called Friendship Brew (the English translation of Biere De L’Amite). And last year, St-Feuillien brewed Belgian Coast IPA which debuted on the company’s 140th anniversary when it opened a new facility in Le Roeulx.
Collaboration is also a part of Stone’s European endeavors. The company is looking to expedite the building of the restaurant component of its German campus (as well as a Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens eatery at a yet-to-be-announced new brewery in the eastern United States that will be built at the same time as the Berlin location). To raise the funds necessary to do so, Stone will brew collaboration beers with some of the biggest names in the craft brewing industry from San Diego to Italy. Those beers will be the first brewed at Stone’s Berlin brewery when it opens, so to facilitate pre-orders, the company is utilizing online resource, Indiegogo.
Though the land of traditional styles (read, not as incredibly hoppy as Green Flash or Stone beers) and lots of lagers (in the case of Germany, at least), demand for a taste of American craft beer is growing in Europe. The efforts of these San Diego companies are both interesting and significant. It will be intriguing to see how imbibers across the Atlantic react to an infusion of red, white, and blue hoppy ales.