Word that Stone Brewing had been sold to Sapporo shook the beer industry last Thursday. Greg Koch had been adamant over the years that he would never “sell out” to Big Beer and yet he did.
In long post on the website, Koch waxed poetic about the brewery he built, his decision to the brewery and the passage of time.
It’s Time is a heartfelt piece (Greg’s always been persuasive writer) it’s also almost 2,500 long.
And because many of its passages resonated deeply with us, with quotes that transition from Metallica to Greek philosopher Heraclitus, we’ve highlighted some of his thoughts with simple edits below…
On His Departure
“It’s time. I’ll be leaving Stone Brewing soon, the company I co-founded and led for the better part of my adult life.
“Not gonna lie…leaving is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Stone has been my life. But at some point, your life has to be your life. And it’s time for that for me.”
On Selling Stone Brewing to Sapporo
“Sure. I’d said it dozens of times, the words: I will never sell out. I 1000% meant it every single time. It’s what I truly believed. Until it wasn’t”
“When was that moment? That’s a harder call than [pick your metaphor], but it seems to be sometime around 2016. Or the day before yesterday.”
“I thank my partner, and our original brewmaster, Steve Wagner. He was the steadfast foundation.”
People often ask me how Stone was able to achieve what it did. Well, I was lucky to find the right partner in Steve. He didn’t stop me from every dumb decision, but he helped us avoid many.”
More on Why He’ll Be Leaving
“I have to be self-aware enough to know that just because I co-founded and led the company for many years, I may not be the best person to helm Stone into the future. I’d planned to operate the puppet strings all the way to my last days, but see now how disrespectful that would be to all the people that have shared our vision along the way.”
On Craft Beer and Becoming Less Rigid
“I’m still, and expect to always be, a supporter of independent craft beer. It’s my roots. It was my cause. I’d like to think I made some contributions to the effort over the years. I will continue to enjoy craft beer because, well, craft beer is awesome.”
However, I’ve softened my rigidity in recent years. I’ll happily buy a beer from Avery, New Belgium, Dogfish Head and Bell’s. And Anchor. I’ll always happily reach for an Anchor. Anchor was my epiphany beer all the way back in 1987.”
A Final Thank You and Good Bye
“I have a special place in my heart for all of you. Both the supporters and the detractors. Really. You shaped Stone. You shaped the world of beer. You shaped me.”
“This blog may be the last time that you hear from me. I’ve enjoyed being a passionate and vocal advocate for craft beer, but I’m ready for more intimate conversations now.”
(All image credits: Stone Brewing)