Monday, July 21, 2014

Do you support Stone’s expansion?

Over the weekend, Stone Brewing Company out of Escondido, California, announced they’re finally making their vision of a European brewery a reality via this fancy YouTube video:

Stone is crowd-sourcing a portion of the funding with an IndieGoGo campaign. That doesn’t really surprise me as Stone has always been the kind of brewery the craft beer community supports, because this brewery has been ardent supporters of the community and industry since Day 1. So, it came as quite a shock to me that when this expansion was announced, a very vocal minority have responded with rather hostile backlash. Their beef is essentially this:
Yes, there are people who are seriously making the argument that they do not support Stone “sending jobs overseas.” This was my reaction when I read those comments: PicardFacepalm
The “sending jobs overseas” argument would really only make sense if Stone were closing their brewery in the United States and moving to a new one in Europe. However, that’s obviously not the case. It’s just a matter of a company who’s doing really well wanting to expand their reach even further. But a swarm of both Occupier-types and Good ‘Ol Boys are objecting to this for essentially the same reason. If that’s not irony I don’t know what is.

This is a great teaching moment, from both an philosophical and economics viewpoint. The craft beer community has been told over and over again to support small breweries and shun big breweries. But we’ve finally reached a point where one of those small breweries is now a pretty darn big brewery. Though Stone’s marketshare is miniscule compared to AB-InBev or Diageo or SAB MillerCoors, it’s pretty huge compared to, say, Brown’s Brewing Company.
  1. Is Stone’s expansion into Europe a good sign that craft beer is growing, or have they become another greedy corporation just trying to make more money?
  2. Do you support Stone’s use of crowd-sourcing? If so, will you contribute to the campaign? If not, why do you disagree with it?
  3. How do you think American craft beer, especially of the Stone variety, will be received in Germany and Europe as a whole?
  4. If a European “craft” (non-macro) brewery wanted to open a satellite brewery in America, what would be your reaction?
  5. Is “craft beer” strictly an American term and concept?

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