Ken Leighton 9:29 a.m., May 22
Stone Thinking Outside the Craft Beer Box
As I post this, Stone Brewing Co. co-founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner are escorting scores of local media around the county in a tour bus, letting them in on some big news about the company's projects. This is more than leaking info on some new quadruple IPA (though that'd for sure be welcomed news in the hoppiest region on Earth).
Chief among those is the Stone Hotel, an intimate 50-room venue that will be situated across the street from Stone's main brewing facility in Escondido (which will undergo an expansion to add a new brewery and additional parking). The timeline on this ambitious project is fuzzy, but other projects on the docket are already under way.
Eight miles north, Stone has purchased the farmland formerly leased by La Milpa Organica. That soil will be tended by Mil Krecu of Tierra Miguel Foundation fame and supply Escondido's Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens as well as a second Bistro location that will debut in a 24,000 square foot venue in Liberty Station (formerly the Naval Training Center). That spot will house yet another brewery as well as amenities such as a theater and bocce court.
Also hitting the San Diego scene is a Stone Company Store situated in South Park on 30th Street (AKA: the beeriest street in all of SD), Stone Catering (which will operate out of a facility just north of Stone's Escondido headquarters) and a Stone brewery in Europe.
A final European location has yet to be determined, but Koch just returned from touring the two cities on the company's short list - Berlin, Germany and Bruges, Belgium.