While Stone Brewing Co., the 9th largest craft brewing company in the U.S., is still pressing ahead to open its fourth brewery and taproom in downtown Napa, California this year, the responsible Chief Operating Officer has quit his job.
Pat Tiernan, COO at Stone with a master degree in Electrical Engineering from California State Polytechnic University , announced his resignation from the post he held for the last 5 years. During this time, the company has opened two new breweries and taphouses, one at the east coast in Richmond, Virginia and one in Berlin, Germany, and is on the verge of opening another one in Napa, California.
This resignation represents the fourth key personnel loss for the company in a little more than one year. In June 2016 longtime brewmaster Mitch Steele announced his departure from Stone to start a brewery of his own in Georgia. In August 2016 Stone founder Greg Koch named Dominic Engels as new CEO and assumed himself the post of executive chairman. Since then former CFO Craig Spitz, distribution director Chad Heath, and Richmond brewmaster Peter Wiens have all left the company.
In October, Stone announced the layoff of 5 percent of its 1,200 employees. The announcement marked a turning point in the success story of the iconic brewer from Escondido, California, which has only seen growth since its start in 1996. “Due to an unforeseen slowdown in our consistent growth and changes in the craft beer landscape, we have had to make the difficult decision to restructure our staff. Unfortunately, this comes despite a year that includes the incredible accomplishments of opening two new breweries, which are ultimately expanding the availability of Stone beers and boosting the reputation of American craft beer in Europe,” Stone said in a press statement last October. (inside.beer, 14.10.2016)
In April 2017 it became known that plans for a new hotel of Stone in Escondido/California have been put on hold. "Stone is committed to doubling its brewing capacity and doing the hotel, but I think they are waiting to complete their European ventures and then come back here and do that,” Escondido Mayor Sam Abed said at that time. “They are still committed, but I think it’s just been put on hold for a little bit.” (inside.beer, 26.4.2017)
During the last 20 years, Stone Brewing has grown from a small microbrewery with just two founders into one of the largest craft breweries in the United States. The company has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 11 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. In February last year California based Stone Brewing with a 250-barrel brewhouse opened its 220,000-square-foot (20,000 m²) East Coast brewery and distribution center with retail store and tasting room in Richmond, Virginia. In September 2016 it was the first American craft brewery to open up a facility in Europe. The new site in a former gasworks facility in Germany’s capital Berlin covers an area of 56,000 square-foot (5.200 m²) and features a beer garden with 1.200 seats.
In May 2016, Stone Brewing announced it will begin renovations to a 10,000 square-foot building in downtown Napa, which will include a 10-barrel pilot brewing system, a dining experience, growler fills and Stone merchandise. The historic Borreo building, named for the family that formerly owned the historic stone structure, is an Italianate Renaissance design made from native-cut stone. It was completed in 1877 and has been vacant since 2001. While keeping historic elements in place, Stone plans to transform the building’s western wall, adding expansive doors to a stunning garden facing the Napa River.
An opening date for December is tentatively being aired but Stone’s executive chairman and founder Greg Koch admits, “We’ll have some challenges to get there. It might be possible.”