American Craft Brewers On The Sale Of Stone Brewing To Sapporo

, American Craft Brewers On The Sale Of Stone Brewing To Sapporo

Photo © Brewers Association

On Friday we attended SAVOR in Washington, DC. It was a terrific evening of food and drink with more than 110 craft breweries from all over the US participating this year.

And in addition to enjoying some serious beer we took the opportunity to ask visiting brewers, both big and small, what they thought about the very recent news of Stone Brewing being acquired by Sapporo.

Lia Ashburn – Family Owner/ President, Highland Brewing (Asheville, NC)

“My thoughts on the sale of Stone to Sapporo – you can never say never.  Period.  It saddens me in some ways.  But life is about continuing to learn.”

, American Craft Brewers On The Sale Of Stone Brewing To SapporoGreg Engert, Beverage Director / Partner, Neighborhood Restaurant Group (Wash, DC)

“I have to say I wasn’t super surprised to hear about Stone and Sapporo today.  You know, Greg Koch and Steve Wagner are good friends of mine – have been for 20 years – and I love everything that they’ve done.  They’ve worked very hard. But even though they’ve said that they would never sell out or do these things, things obviously change.”

“The business has changed a lot over the past 20 years, and I think that this is the right thing for them, for the brewery, for the staff, and I think it’s going to actually be a great thing going forward.  Sapporo has done a fantastic job with Anchor and I think that’ s something we need to keep in mind as we think about what this means to the industry.”

John Zerivitz – Co-Founder / Creative Dir., Union Craft Brewing (Baltimore, MD)

“When I heard about the Stone deal this morning I was not surprised, as I could see this coming.  But I was definitely disappointed in that starting a brewery in 2011 when Union started, Stone was the champion of independent brewing and a role model for a lot of us.  So, to see it end like this was just disappointing to me.”

Garrett Marrero – Founder / CEO, Maui Brewing (Lahaina, HI)

“We all know where Stone was with their transaction prior and I would say give them a chance.  Of course, Sapporo is a big brand but that doesn’t mean that it is going to be bad for Stone or bad for beer.”

“Ultimately today, especially with the supply chain logistics and all of these other challenges we all have in beer, it’s really important to run a real tight business and scale doesn’t hurt in today’s world.”

“So I do think we’re going to continue to see consolidation in the industry and it’s going to be a combination of craft on craft and some outside of craft.  But I wish them the best.  I think it’s a great marriage, and I am excited to see what they do together.”

, American Craft Brewers On The Sale Of Stone Brewing To SapporoIan Roberts – Founder, Future Primitive Brewing (Seattle WA)

I’m not really surprised unfortunately.  It’s just kind of the trend for larger breweries, and everyone needs an exit plan, and it is what it is.  It’s not Roe v Wade!  It’s not the worst news today by any means.”

Jeff Hancock – cofounder and brewmaster, DC Brau (Wash, DC)

“My thoughts on the recent Stone acquisition by Sapporo — I’m not surprised.  The marketplace is very volatile these days.  And while it saddens me a bit, I definitely drink a lot of Sapporo when I go get sushi, and I’m glad that they are going to be able to join forces.”

“Hopefully, Sapporo will stay true to Stone because they were one of the pioneers, and one of the most well-known craft breweries over the last 30 years.”

Matt Manthe – Brewer/Owner Odd Breed Wild Ales (Pompano Beach, FL)

“I think it marks a change in craft beer.  Stone was one of my favorite breweries – still is one of my favorite breweries.  It really got me into craft beer a couple of decades ago.  And it’s just very evident of the changing craft beer landscape.  The ways things are now is not the way they were back then.”

Jacob Berg – Managing Editor DC Beer / DC (Wash, DC)

“it’s interesting to me that Sapporo bought Stone fully knowing that Anchor, a previous Sapporo acquisition, had unionized.”

“I wonder if Sapporo had perhaps considered the implications of a brewery like Stone with locations both in CA and VA, in terms of a potential unionization effort, on their employees.  And that’s without Stone Distribution that appears to be separate from the acquisition.”

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