I remember emailing Stone Brewing maybe 10 years ago to applaud them for their amazingly colorful writing that I found on the back of their Arrogant Bastard Ale. They emailed back and, for the life of me I can’t find that email. It wasn’t a PR person, it was someone straight from the brewery. They appreciated it and even gave me the name of the person that wrote it. But, I can’t find it. *le sigh.* Maybe Greg Koch emailed me?!
After spending the last 19 years as the head of Stone Brewing, Greg Koch (not of Koch brother’s relation) has stepped down as CEO of the ninth largest craft brewery in the US. The company employs more than 1,100 people.
With all the recent craft brewery acquisitions, there are, no doubt, speculations that Stone is on the verge of selling as well. Koch was quick to stop that talk telling Fortune,
Stone Brewing will never sell out. Stone Brewing is sacrosanct. We’re not interested in participating in a cash grab. There are two ways of operating a business – commodity or artisan. We operate as an artisan. We make decisions based on our passions. … Anybody that thinks commodity can operate as an artesian is ignoring the basic facts about how businesses operate.
Koch will assume the roll of Stone’s executive chairman. Stone recently opened a $25 million brewery in Germany and has opened up a brewery on in Virginia, in an attempt to expand its reach.
Koch’s resignation marks another passing of the guard in the craft beer community. Dick Cantwell, co-owner of Elysian recently stepped down amid controversy at Elysian. He was vocal about his disapproval of the brewery’s sale to AB InBev. Cantwell is speaking at Chuckanut tonight.
A month ago we lost Fred Eckhardt, a legend and pioneer of craft beer after decades of making craft beer what it is today.
These are voices that have moved craft beer to it’s current zenith, but there will be more. Craft beer is building another crop and generation of craft beer legends all it’s own. There will be other Cantwells, Fred Eckhardts and Kochs doing great things for the craft beer community. Raise an arrogant pint to Greg Koch this evening. Maybe even grab a bomber and take a read on the back.