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Stone Brewing announces $26 million expansion

on 18/05/11 at 1:39 pm


Southern California’s largest craft brewery poised to grow.

Stone Brewing Company, whose recession-defying growth has made it Southern California’s largest craft brewer, is announcing Wednesday $26.6 million in expansions and new businesses. When these projects are completed — some are open, and the others should be by late 2012 — much of the county will be less than a stone’s throw from a Stone venture.

Major components include:

  • Bringing a 400-seat restaurant to Point Loma’s Liberty Station, complete with bocce courts, an outdoor space for movie screenings, a 19,000-square-foot beer garden and a small brewery.
  • Expanding the company’s Escondido home, more than doubling its footprint and allowing it to produce about a half million barrels of beer a year.
  • Running an 18.7-acre farm in North County to supply organic produce to the company’s two restaurants — Liberty Station and the existing Stone World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.
  • Opening a shop in South Park on 30th Street’s “beer corridor,” selling Stone ales in bottles, kegs and half-gallon “growlers.”

These plans are underway even as Stone tries to become the first American company to open a craft brewery in Europe. That project is moving slower than anticipated, company officials say, due to legal and regulatory hurdles. But they insist the dream of a Stone brewery in Berlin or Bruges, Belgium, is still alive.

Tackling a half dozen projects at once — adding 250 employees, acquiring 35 acres, building 125,000-plus square feet of work space and spending almost $27 million — may seem reckless.

“But it’s just our time right now as craft brewers,” said co-founder and brewmaster Steve Wagner.

{Full story via Sign On San Diego}

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