In June 2016, California based Stone Brewing opened a brewery in Berlin, Germany, the first of its kind in what many people say the lion's den. After two year’s Stone’s executive chairman and cofounder Greg Koch has to admit that he has not yet reached his goal: "I'm satisfied that everything works, but I'm not yet at the end,” he was quoted by Die Welt.
Therefore new taprooms are now to be opened in major cities in Germany. “Every city with over 500,000 inhabitants is eligible for us," Koch says. Germany has 15 cities which comply with this condition. Next to Berlin, where Stone already operates two taprooms, there are Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen, Leipzig, Bremen, Dresden, Hannover, Nürnberg and Duisburg.
Currently, Stone investigates further locations in Berlin and Hamburg. In April Stone opened his second taproom in Berlin’s "in" district Prenzlauer Berg near the landmark Mauerpark, a former part of the Berlin Wall and its Death Strip, which is also known for its weekly Sunday flea market. As opposed to the original 75-tap, 1,200-seat brewery, restaurant and biergarden in Mariendorff on the southern fringes of Berlin, the second taproom is centrally located and much smaller and could serve as a blueprint for further locations. The 100 square meter location has more than 60 seats inside and offers 70 more seats at the street bar and on the outdoor terrace. The company serves 27 draught beers, which are brewed either at Stone in Berlin or at one of the other Stone breweries in the United States. However, several taps are always reserved for brews from befriended brewers. The restaurant serves a menu of international street food and all-day breakfast, including vegetarian and vegan fare. The design of the tap room combines organic materials such as wood and stone with industrial elements such as metal, concrete and glass.
Earlier this year Stone Brewing also opened two other taprooms , one in the heart of California’s wine country in Napa (inside.beer, 24.10.2017) and another one in China’s boomtown Shanghai.
Stone beer brewed at the German brewing site is also canned and kegged locally and exported to 30 countries throughout Europe. But it seems that German consumers do not accept the beer as much as hoped mainly because the product is not available in glass bottles. One of the peculiarities of the German market is the fact that there is a heavy tax on beverage cans, which was introduced in 2003 to stabilize the existing return-refill system for beer in the country and which has significantly reduced the use of beverage cans ever since.