Stone to open Virginia brewery
US craft brewer targets 120,000 barrel capacity
Stone Brewing has announced plans to open a US $74 million brewery in Richmond, Virginia. The San Diego-based brewer has signed a letter of intent with Richmond to build the facility in the city’s east end, subject to local approvals.
The 14-acre site will comprise a 200,000 square-foot production brewery and distribution facility, a packaging hall, a four-acre destination restaurant, a retail store and administrative offices. A total of 288 people are expected to be employed.
The 250-barrel brewhouse will produce the full range of Stone beers, including year-round styles and special releases. All will be bottled and kegged on site.
When it’s up and running, the brewery is expected to produce about 120,000 barrels annually. There is potential on the site to be able to expand capacity to 500,000 barrels per year. The brewery is expected to be fully operational by September 2015. No contracts have been signed for the brewery equipment as yet.
Greg Koch, CEO and co-founder of Stone Brewing, who is currently dividing his time between the US and the company’s brewery project underway in Berlin, Germany, told Brewers’ Guardian he expects it to be fully operational in a year’s time.
“In the grand scheme of things, our priority is the Richmond brewery No.1, with the Berlin brewery a close second and then the Berlin restaurant, followed by the Richmond restaurant,” he said. “We would like to be brewing (at the Richmond brewery) by next September.”
Koch explained that the Richmond facility will serve the eastern half of the US, as a distribution hub for all of the states east of Mississippi, complementing its San Diego operation in the west.
“We are already in almost 42 states, spread across the breadth and depth of the US,” he said. “But there are some states in the middle that we aren’t represented in that we’ll be adding over the next several years.”
Koch is overseeing both the Richmond and Berlin projects with his management team of president and co-founder Steve Wagner, CFO Craig Spitz and COO Pat Tiernan.
Richmond emerged from a shortlist of three sites that was previously announced in early August, with the other finalists Columbus, Ohio and Norfolk, Virginia. Initially 40 cites, located in more than 20 states, expressed interest in having Stone set up operations in their communities.
Koch said Richmond was chosen for its location, offering good logistics potential, and for incentives offered by the state of Virginia, including access to low cost financing.
Stone Brewing will receive a $5 million grant from the state governor’s Opportunity Fund. It is also eligible for a grant of up to $250,000 from Virginia’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe commented, “This competitive, high-profile project really puts Virginia on the map and cements our standing as a serious player in the craft beer industry."