Sapporo has reached an agreement to acquire Stone Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum.
Sometime in 2021, Sapporo approached Stone Brewing in a bid to increase the production of Sapporo brands in the United States, using Stone’s Escondido and Richmond facilities. According to the official press release, “Sapporo gains major, high-quality brewing capacity on both U.S. coasts that will enable it to significantly increase production to meet the strong consumer demand of its Sapporo-branded beers for the domestic market.”
Sapporo intends to brew 360,000 barrels (11,160,000 gallons) of beer in the United States by 2024. Stone’s facilities will play a larger role in that goal. According to Sapporo, that will essentially double Stone’s production volume, which was ranked 9th nationally in 2021 amongst craft breweries.
“This acquisition puts the resources and legacy of the largest Asian beer brand in America together with one of the most innovative and recognized craft beer brands in the world. It’s a perfect fusion of east meets west that is an ideal marriage for Sapporo’s long-term growth strategy in the U.S,” Kenny Sadai, Chairman, Sapporo U.S.A.
In addition to Stone’s two production facilities, all 7 taprooms and World Bistro & Gardens destinations and workforce will remain intact, run under the Sapporo business structure.
According to co-founder Greg Koch, who has been an outspoken detractor of large corporate beer companies, said “This unique partnership allows us to preserve the Stone legacy that our fans know and love and will add exponential opportunities for growth, from production to more investment in people, equipment, sales, and marketing.”
Stone Brewing’s southern California distributorship is not included in the acquisition, which will be maintained by the current ownership.
Sapporo was founded in 1876 and is the oldest beer brand in Japan. The company has two breweries in North America, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and Sleeman brewery in Canada acquired in 2006.
The transaction is expected to close in August 2022.
When a brewer visits the Tianshan Tea City in Shanghai, it’s pretty much a given a beer will come out of it. Stone Soaring Dragon Imperial IPA joins the brewery’s lineup this month.
White peony tea is a first in Stone’s beers, who has used green tea a few times in the past (see: Baird/Ishii/Stone Green Tea IPA.) According to the brewery, the team was really “blown away” after trying the white peony tea. The floral qualities of the tea really had the potential to play well with some new hop varieties. In this case, Citra and Loral.
Per Stone, the flavor profile: Raspberry, cinnamon stick, and clover honey with hints of coconut and papaya, spearmint, sage, clean white tea, and grapefruit pith.
Stone Soaring Dragon is available in 12-ounce cans and 22-ounce bottles.
8% ABV, 38 IBUs
Image: Stone Brewing
Stone Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager has started shipping nationally as April winds down.
From a brewery best known for their love of India pale ales comes a Mexican-style lager brewed with fresh lime and sea salt. Stone Brewing was founded in 1996 just 17 miles from Baja California. The south of the border inspirations are evident in Stone’s love of hot peppers in brewing, as well as Xocoveza Mexican hot chocolate imperial stout.
Brewer Ben Sheehan created this beer at Stone’s World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station. Look for Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager in 12 and 19.2-ounce cans, 12 and 22-ounce bottles as well as draft.
Arrogant Bastard Jägermeister Ale is headed out to select markets now, a Germany brewed special release for the U.S.
A staple in nearly every bar in America – Jägermeister. The herbal liquor is made with 56 different herbs and takes more than a year to produce. Jäger’s headquarters is in Wolfenbuttel, Germany, nearby Stone’s Berlin brewery that they sold this year. The last collaboration from Stone Berlin is debuting this month- Arrogant Bastard Jagermeister Ale.
The base beer is Arrogant Bastard Ale, an American strong ale that is the flagship beer of Stone’s Arrogant Consortia, the cocky brewing subset of Stone Brewing. According to Lizzie Younkin, public relations manager for the brewery, the beer was brewed after the sale by Stone’s brewers that were hired by Brewdog as they took over the Bern facility. A few senior brewers from Stone’s Escondido brewery also traveled to Berlin to oversee the final pieces of this collaboration.
Jagermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is brewed with similar spices as the digestif counterpart according to Stone. While the brewery hasn’t disclosed which spices, some of the most notable in Jager are anise, poppy seeds, citrus peels, juniper berries, licorice, and ginseng.
Neither beverage has now, or ever contained deer blood. Sorry internet theorists.
Jagermeister Arrogant Bastard Ale is headed to select markets across the U.S. in October, including California, Colorado, D.C., Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennesee, and Washington.
Style: American Strong Ale (w/ Various spices.)
Availability: 750ml Bottles, Corked & Caged. Limited Release.
Debut: October 2019
Stone 23rd Uncanny Anni Double IPA releases in the coming week, a celebration of 23 years of craft brewing.
Over the years, Stone Brewing’s anniversary releases have covered a plethora of styles. The 5th Anniversary release was an IPA, followed by a porter on the 6th. 12th was Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, and 15th a Black IPA. Some years it was an IPA with all German hops and malts, others all Austrailian, there was even hazy IPA in there somewhere.
The 23rd Anniversary release is simply what Stone does best. Hops, and lots of them. This “no-aluminum-yet-lotsa-hops Stone 23rd Anniversary Uncanny Anni Double IPA” is full of “hefty doses” of Mosaic, Citra, and Cascade. (Aka, the hops A-Listers.)
Stone 23rd Uncanny officially debuts on August 12th in 22-ounce bottles and draft.
Style: Imperial IPA
Hops: Mosaic, Citra, Cascade
Availability: 22oz Bottles, Draft. Limited Release.
In 2017, Stone released Vengeful Spirit IPA with the intention of showing off fruit in what the brewery is best known for – IPAs. Two years later a bolder version of that beer returns.
Stone chose pineapples and Mandarin oranges that compliments the tropical Mosaic, Loral & Mandarina Bavaria hops.
Revengeful Spirit is more aggressive than the 2017 release, in both alcohol by volume, hops and citrus fruit. Consider picking up this bold pre-summer beer. The nose is heavy on oranges, and each sip bursts with trop-hops and pineapple, finishing smooth and slightly bitter. Stone struck a nice balance with real fruit in an imperial IPA without being, cloying, heavy or sticky. It’s like drinking in a ray of hoppy sunshine.
Stone ReVengeful Spirit is available nationally in 12-ounce cans, 22-ounce bottles, and draft.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Seasonal Release.
Debut: May 2019
PIC: Beer Street Journal
Arrogant Consortia, Stone Brewing’s “arrogant” extension of their brewing operation, was always destined for a collaboration like this. Stone and Metallica have created a new pilsner rolling out nationally.
Musical collaborations are nothing new in the beer industry. Dogfish Head has created several musical releases with Pearl Jam, Guided By Voices, and The Flaming Lips. Dropkick Murphys teamed up with Magic Hat and Megadeth with Unibroue – that’s just the beginning of the list. Now musical hall of fame inducted Metallica has their own national release- Enter Night Pilsner.
Iron Maiden has their own successful beer and Metallica has taken notice. After launching “Blackened,” a Metallica inspired whiskey last fall, beer was an obvious next step. According to drummer Lars Ulrich, Stone Brewing’s name kept coming up while doing some research. Beer fans know how fiercely independent Stone is, and Metallica was drawn to Greg Koch and Stone for that mentality.
Metallica didn’t want to just “slap a label” on a beer, and Koch wasn’t about to do the brewer’s version of the same thing. The band dove head first together into the creation of this collaboration – Enter Night Pilsner.
Now, a lot of folks think a metal-inspired beer should be strong, black, barrel-aged, or be brewed with goat’s blood or something “metal” like that. Most musicians want something on the lighter side of the spectrum to drink before, during, and after the show. The guitar solo on “One” wouldn’t as epic if Kirk Hammett was shit-blitzed on barleywine. A pilsner became a perfect choice (plus Ulrich is from Europe originally and knows the style well).
Enter Night Pilsner is every bit a clean, crisp European style lager with just a touch of aggressive American hops. When Stone Brewing and Metallica say this beer “transcends genres, shatters preconceptions and challenges convention,” we tend to agree. They both have done that in their perspective industries and definitely in this beer. Enter Night is not like any pilsner you’ve had before.
Enter Night Pilsner is hitting shelves nationally in 16-ounce cans.
Crank The Black Album and get drinking.
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft.
Debut (Nationally): Early 2019
5.7% ABV, 45 IBUs
PIC: Beer Street Journal