One year after its sale to a subsidiary of Japanese brewing group Sapporo, (inside.beer, 27.6.2023) Stone Brewing, one of largest craft beer brands and 18th overall in size in the United States, has started to brew the Japanese beer for the American market and entered into a five-year global licensing agreement with NuZee, a leading co-packing company for single-serve coffee formats.
Under the exclusive agreement, NuZee intends to co-manufacture and distribute Stone Brewing specialty coffee products nationwide through a vast network of natural grocery, traditional grocery, and convenience store channels, as well as office coffee and hotel brokers and distributors. NuZee also intends to build a strong direct-to-consumer (D2C) business by marketing the specialty coffee line to craft beverage customers around the world on a dedicated website www.stoneroasting.com. The new product line is expected to launch in Q3 2023.
NuZee will produce a full line of specialty coffee products, including its proprietary single-serve DRIPKIT pour-overs, single-serve brew bags, whole bean 12 oz coffee bags and Industrial Compostable capsules all to be branded under the Stone name.
The new line of coffee will adopt the branding and flavor characteristics of three of Stone’s most popular brands: Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager and Stone Xocoveza.
Masa Higashida, NuZee's CEO, commented, "We are delighted to build upon the success of our past collaborations and expand our partnership with our San Diego neighbors at Stone. Our team will capitalize on the remarkable brand recognition and expanding influence of the Stone brand, synergizing it with our exceptional coffees and coffee-related offerings. We believe that this agreement will drive significant revenue growth, which will significantly increase shareholder value. We look forward to serving Stone's expansive consumer audience and effectively driving long-term shareholder value."
Founded in 1996, Stone Brewing pioneered the West Coast Style IPA, helping to fuel the modern craft beer revolution and inspire generations of hop fanatics. The brewery operates two production brewing facilities on both coasts, in Escondido, CA and Richmond, VA. Today, Stone's beer is available in all 50 states and more than 40 different countries.
Erin Smith, Stone Brewing Sr. Vice President of Marketing said, "There is a definite overlap in what attracts people to craft beer and to craft coffee. Quality, intention, and passion are what our fans seek and we're confident that this new line of first-class specialty coffees will be an exciting new way for them to enjoy the Stone brand."
Next to the coffee deal, Stone has also started producing Sapporo beer for the American market, already the #1 selling Asian beer brand in the US.
“When Sapporo was looking for a partner, they were looking for someone that could expand and brew Sapporo, but also a brand that they could help further develop,” Sean Monahan, chief operating officer for Stone and Sapporo Brewing told KPBS. “And so they fully embrace what Stone is, and we continue to innovate into the future.”
According to Monahan “it will be a few more months before locally brewed Sapporo will be available on store shelves. However, locals can find it at each of Stone’s World Bistro & Gardens locations under the experimental lager labels.”