I recently read an article about Stone Brewing Company, based in California. I’ve liked their beers since I first discovered them, but really knew nothing about the company. Well, it turns out that the company is as awesome as their beers. Check out their site when you can: STONE BREWING Co.
Stone has a model that I admire and one that we in the Coffee business can learn from. They have distribution in 35 states through commercial carriers. However, in California they distribute their own beer, using their own trucks and drivers. That is not uncommon. What is unusual though is that in addition to distributing their own line, Stone handles delivery for 3-dozen other craft brewers.
Yes, Stone delivers beer from its competitors. Their head of distribution, Jim Poer, says “We want to grow the craft market. We look at the other brands that we work with as compatriots more than competitors.” Rather than head on competition with other brewers, Stone concentrates on making the best beer it can, and differentiating itself from the large, mass market beer corporations. Analogous to craft coffee roasters distinguishing themselves from the large commercial coffee corporations and chains.
Another aspect that makes Stone Brewing unusual is the degree of vertical integration the company practices. There is the Brewery, the restaurant “Stone World Bistro“, the 19-acre Stone Farms supplying the bistro with fresh produce, a catering operation, and two distribution warehouses.
Read more about Stone Brewing Company on their site. Find out how they use bio-diesel. Check out the “Saison du Buff” beer they brewed in collaboration with Victory Brewing and with Dogfish Head Brewing.