USA: Stone Brewing names Maria Stipp as CEO

Stone Brewing Company, the country's 9th largest craft brewery, has hired Maria Stipp to the position of Stone Brewing CEO. She replaces Dominic Engels who resigned last month following a four-year tenure with the company.

Engels took over the helm of the company in difficult times in 2016. Soon after his start in October 2016, Engelshad to announce laying off approximately 5 percent of the company’s staff (, 14.10.2016).The same and the following year, a fourth of the key personnel resigned and left the company (, 24.10.2017). In 2016, Stone also opened an American-style craft brewery in Berlin, Germany but had to sell it already three years later (, 5.4.2019).

In 2019, Stone Brewing announced to close their True Craft investment fund. The fund was thought to buy small, non-controlling stakes in breweries that needed capital to grow, and did not want to sell to major brewing groups. ”It was an idea that never came to fruition,” Stone Brewing’s co-founder Greg Koch had to admit (, 16.7.2019).

Most recently during the COVID-19 pandemic In April 2020, Stone Brewing had to lay off another 306 employees, or about 30% of its workforce of its restaurants, taprooms and distributions sales force (, 27.4.2020).

Stipp, who already took office at the beginning of this week, has now to stabilize business. She spent the past five years as CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company but left the company in February after Heineken, that fully owns Lagunitas since 2017, asserted more control over the pioneering and idiosyncratic craft brewery.

Previously, she was President of ecoATM, a company launched in Stone's hometown of San Diego. Before ecoATM, Stipp was Executive Vice President at Activision, where she was responsible for Call of Duty and Guitar Hero, and further in the past, Miller Brewing Company and Kelloggs.

Stipp will oversee Stone's East and West Coast brewing production facilities, two Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens locations, seven Stone Brewing Tap Room locations and distribution to all 50 states and more than 40 countries. As CEO of Stone brewing, she will lead Stone Distributing Co., which distributes more than 40 brands of craft and specialty beverages throughout eight counties of northern and southern California. She will also hold a seat on the Stone Brewing Board of Directors.

"We couldn't be happier to welcome Maria to Team Stone," said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing co-founder & Executive Chairman. "She has experience with companies both similar and quite different than our own. We'll no doubt benefit from her strong leadership. In addition, she is clearly passionate about the beers, the ideals and the philosophies that Stone represents. I'm excited, knowing that we're bringing a leader on who's already clearly one of our own. We welcome her with great enthusiasm and promise."

"Maria has all the qualities we were looking for in a CEO," explained Steve Wagner, Stone Brewing co-founder & interim CEO. "She brings experience from a very well-respected brewery, and experience from outside the industry too. She lives up to our values and has long admired our revolutionary spirit. Most importantly, she's someone co-founder Greg Koch and I are honored and excited to work with. And the latter is a must, because we're sticking around!"

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