Beer and Pavement

Stone Week

Posted in Beer by SM on April 27, 2011

This past week, Missouri welcomed Stone Brewing to the Show-Me State…Rather, Stone Brewing welcomed us to their distribution[1]. For most of the week, stories leaked and were told about Stone’s arrival. Of course, Stone’s Greg Koch[2] was on-hand to spread his arrogant gospel about rejecting “yellow fizzy beer” and instead choosing real flavor in the form of real beer, specifically Stone’s beer.

I say “week” when things actually kicked off Tuesday, the official release day of everything. It started with a slow rumble over social media of displays at stores all over town. During my lunch break, I stopped in at three different stores and all of them had gigantic stacks of Stone beer. I’ve never seen anything like it[3]. I remember when Founders arrived a couple years back and thought that was big. This was on another level[4]. There’s now more Stone here than the shelves allow. And it’s fresh. We didn’t get the leftovers…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The beer nerds in town picked up their customary allotment and the stories from Kansas City and St. Louis started rolling in, including the videos below…

And basically the same talk[5] at another KC establishment near the 2:29 mark…

And while it’s humorous to watch a guy who makes and promotes craft beer for a living talk about “throwing off the chains of oppression[6],” the beer is serious stuff. I won’t be the first person to complain that Stone’s beer hasn’t lived up to their own hype machine[7], but it’s a pretty important player in the craft beer scene and it greatly upgrades the beer available in Missouri. Besides, I’m not entirely sure the beer has really suffered that much since they’ve expanded. It could be that my palate has expanded or I haven’t had fresh Stone in a long while. Whatever. Stone Brewing coming to Missouri was a big deal for us. It’s a big deal for me.

The week moved on and the day approached when the Stone reps would make their appearance in our little college town. I used the Columbia Beer Enthusiast Twitter account to promote the arrival, even going so far as to mention one of craft beer’s top-20 bachelors, Mr. Koch, as being present for the festivities. He quickly corrected me via Twitter…

This took some of the luster off the big Stone release events of the weekend, but I attended anyway[8].

After a CBE officers meeting at Broadway Brewery, people poured into Sycamore five minutes before they were open to hit the bar up for the first Stone many of us had on tap in Missouri[9]. I started with asking the bartender to fill my free take-away Stone  glassware with a 2010 Russian Imperial Stout. Since we hadn’t received this year’s batch of RIS, I figured I’d just sip on this one beer before the next stop as bar crawls are always bad new for me. Trouble is, someone let me try their Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale and I wanted that. I had had this beer before, but this one was fresh with the sweet aroma of Simcoe.

After Sycamore, we stumbled down to Uprise for more Stone. The Double Bastard was the brew of choice. And when they call it “double” they’re not kidding. For the uninitiated, Arrogant Bastard is a load of a beer. The malt bill and hop presence is pretty huge, almost too much for the virgin palate, but the Double Bastard slams even the most seasoned beer geek in the face with loads of sweetness and alcohol[10]. It’s not an easy drink for anyone, but that didn’t stop us.

Originally, this was supposed to be the last stop, but we somehow rounded up some DD’s to take us out to 1839 Tap House. After a Cal-Belgique IPA and possibly something else, I had to head home. The Cal-Belgique was not the beer with which to end and I don’t feel like I can give it a true assessment after the RIS and Double Bastard. Luckily, there’s still a bottle in my cellar for an untainted tasting.

It’s been six years since I moved here, wonting of Stone. Now that it’s here, I feel our beer selection in Missouri upgraded ten-fold. Now, when faced with an uninspiring tap list at a bar, I know that I can simply order a Stone Arrogant Bastard or Ruination IPA and know that my beery needs are met.

Some have complained that the Stone brand is more hype and hyperbole than substance. I’d disagree. They’re like the indie band who signs a major label deal and blows up all over the world[11]. Maybe some of the product isn’t as good as it once was, but that might have more to do with context than it does whether or not the product is any good. Someone made the point that although Arrogant Bastard isn’t as impressive as its name would suggest, ten years ago, that beer would have blown your mind. Stone’s arrival in Missouri might not be the most earth-shattering development in craft beer, but it certainly is a welcome one.

Notes:
1Stone is practically everywhere, but part of their arrogance lies in the fact that we’re told that we’re not worthy for their beer. Only now is Missouri worthy. And with the growth of the craft beer scene as well as all the groveling in this state for some Stone, maybe we really are worthy.
2Koch is the Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) of the west. He personifies both the good and the bad associated with Stone’s arrogance.
3Aside from the stacks of macros in our stores, I’ve never seen so much beer from one craft brewery in Columbia stores. The setups would make ABI and MillerCoors blush. I was lucky enough to see three stacks virtually untouched. I was amazed so much work had been done that morning.
4Founders was a sought after as Stone is, but their beer was absent from Missouri shelves within their first week or two. Even if people buy twice as much Stone, there’s no way we’ll run out for a month. I like that one of my favorite breweries is not only in Missouri, but it should be readily available.
5My suspicion is that Koch really has just one speech in his back pocket with a few catch phrases. Unfortunately for him, with the increasing exposure due to social media, his speeches will become cliched. Luckily for him, Stone only has a few more states left to invade.
6I do grow weary of this sort of rhetoric. Come on. You have never known oppression, white guy who sells beer to the masses. It’s a little insulting, but it’s probably benign enough by now that I shouldn’t be offended, which is maybe a problem in itself.
7Koch is part of that hype machine, but the brewery has done an impressive job of branding itself over the past decade. The ever-present gargoyles, the long-winded narratives on the back of the bottles, the use of terms like “arrogant,” “ruination,” “sublimely self-righteous”…You get the point. Stone hypes itself better than any other brewery outside of BrewDog and BD is just emulating Stone. I have to admit that I have been sucked in by the hype machine, but it doesn’t hurt that I enjoy most of their beers.
8Honestly, I came for the beer. It would have been nice to get some Greg face, but I’ll live. I’ve got my beer.
9Actually, I had some Ruination and Arrogant Bastard the night before at Uprise. We had a happy hour to celebrate my wife sending her final revisions of her book to the press and I couldn’t turn down an Arrogant Bastard.
10The regular AB is just under 8% ABV. Luckily, the Double is not fully double that, but at 11%, it packs a mighty wallop for which none of us were prepared.
11I remember no one who liked Nirvana before they hit it big liked them after. Although they haven’t technically signed with a major label, Arcade Fire gets all kinds of crap for their success. It’s hard for people to separate success from quality. Sometimes the criticism is just, but often we dislike a band just because their too big. Of course, the opposite can also be said when we love a band or musician just because they are so popular. I suspect that in beer, both happens simultaneously. Stone, for example, will win over a ton of new fans because they are filling up stores and tap handles just as they will lose beer fans because they’re everywhere.

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  1. Pizza Cottontail said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:07 am

    In re your point in the last paragraph about hype vs. substance: The Stone dude sounds pretty obnoxious. If I drank, his faux-fiery speeches and self-aggrandizing Twitter feed might be enough to convince me (and others with low thresholds for the antics of politicians/political wannabes in their needy quest for acceptance) that I wouldn’t want to try his beer. I know it’s just a corny shtick, but Jesus Christ.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

      Yeah, he’s a salesman. I don’t mind it so much as he’s selling an industry I support. Sadly, some are turned off, but that’s been their point all along. If you read the Arrogant Bastard label, it tells we aren’t worthy, that we can’t handle this kind of beer. The rhetoric has worked so far. Luckily, the beer backs up the arrogance. Sure, there are breweries brewing better beer, but I also can’t go around the corner to get those better beers.

  2. Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 9:03 am

    My problem with a lot of craft beer/real ale marketing is that is kind of preaching to the converted, and perpetuates the myth that ‘real’ beer fans are pretty geeky, snobby and generally not that easy-going and fun. Rather than be inclusive and welcoming, there is an elitist air about it all, which I’m sure is a turn-off to the newbie or the sceptic.

    Wychwood’s Hobgoblin promotion over here (http://www.beer-pages.com/images/lager-boy.jpg) is the best example I have – real ale lovers adore the marketing, but to me it just reinforces horrible real ale stereotypes and is unlikely to ‘convert’ anyone.

    I guess, in conclusion, gargoyles/fantasy characters + arrogance doesn’t really work for me. Why not go for a cleaner design and a better attitude?

    But I’m no marketeer…

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Good points and this is something I’m trying to address with my own beer club. I think this marketing worked 10-15 years ago when no one was drinking craft beer/real ale. They needed to promote themselves as a luxury or something elite. That’s not the case anymore. In fact, there’s a movement in the craft scene here to get back to more “sessionable” beer (3-5% ABV) as a way to welcome in the uninitiated.

      The marketing was what caught my attention several years ago. The beer is what kept me coming back. Stone came to Missouri trying to sell us on their beer when we’ve been asking them to come here for years. No sales pitch needed. That said, I’m sure they made back their marketing budget in the first week.

      • Greg Koch said, on April 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm

        Thanks for the blog post! I was going to see if I could reply to all 11 (!) footnotes. I’ll try and get to that (at the SF airport on a layover to Europe at the moment.

        Anywho…I think folks might be slightly overanalyzing my crazy-streetcorner-preacher-inspired umm, speechification. It’s certainly lighthearted to be certain. As you can tell, I was cracking myself up in the process (hey, I had a beer or so in me and I’m sometimes easily amused…and the crowd was just plain fun). Yes, I was preaching to the converted…that’s who was there that night! I also have fun preaching to the unconverted, and I deliver a slightly different ‘sermon’ for those folks. Hell, I just have fun preachin’!

        If you look at our “Stone Week” visit to MO, you’ll see there wasn’t much of a ‘sales pitch’ I think. I purposely never use a so-called Call To Action. No “Pick Some Up Today” or “Try Some Now” or the like. Instead, it’s all “Hey, we’re here…and we’re stoked about it!”

        Our marketing budget for this? Nearly zilch. Well, not zilch if you include our air travel and hotel (and the price of a couple pints and a megaphone), but we travel coach and only stay in budget hotels.

        Our whole approach was a celebration. Joy. Fun. Go figure. It’s craft beer…that makes that goal pretty darn easy.

        As far as the Brit’s comments urging ‘session’ beers, well, yeah, I hear that call a lot. I don’t plan on answering it past our Stone Levitation Ale (4.4%) and last year’s collaboration Kelsey McNair/Ballast Point/Stone San Diego Session Ale (4.3%). Both are decidedly hoppy and ‘Stone-style’ and it’s likely that 99% of Brits would not approve. So be it. If I was afraid of disapproval I’d never have done anything interesting in my life.

        Anyway, thanks again for posting the blog. I’ll see if I can get to the 11-point footnote. Some fun stuff in there!

        Cheers,

        Greg

      • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm

        Wow! Thanks for stopping by. This is the biggest development since Mikkeller posted a link to my blog last week. The beer blogosphere has been good to me.

        There is no need to reply to all the footnotes. When I use them, 11 is actually on the low end. I’m usually somewhere over 15. Still, if you’re bored, have at it.

        I’d like to hear that speech to the unconverted. Maybe I’ll have to look around for it. Of course, if the audience is unconverted, they’re probably not recording it.

        I get that you didn’t really have a sales pitch. I thought I had eluded to as much, but maybe not. There isn’t much converting for Stone these days. I did wonder about the tap takeovers and whatnot. It seemed that would be an expensive piece to the puzzle, but if there’s no budget…

        Either way, it was a fun week, even if I had to watch most of it from Google Reader.

        Yeah, Steve and I go back and forth on the session beer thing. It’s alright. He’s cool about it. Levitation is an excellent session beer. I will have to keep that in mind this summer when I want refreshment and hops, but I don’t want to pass out.

  3. Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I think getting back to session beer is a good idea. It immediately removes craft beer from any ill-considered anti-social/binge drinking debates or criticisms, it is far less macho (so more likely to attract women), and yes, is an easier welcome for the uninitiated. Although I do say all this as a confirmed session ale fan.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

      Except that session beers actually encourage binge drinking and offer less flavor. I don’t need four beers in an evening. I’m happy with one, maybe two.

      • Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:23 am

        While that may (or may not) be the case, I don’t think the media and the wider public see it that way. I think it is far easier to market responsible drinking when the beer is 3.5% than it is to market a 9% beer as a sensible option.

        Obviously I’m talking from a UK perspective, but it is hard to shake off the perception that stronger beers are essentially for alcoholics, especially as many cheap, strong beers and ciders have served that purpose for years. The craft beer industry could avoid a lot of knee-jerk bad press (I’m thinking some of the BrewDog coverage here) by moving the focus away from high ABV beer.

        And if people are used to drinking four or more beers in an evening, they may not slow down accordingly when they switch to a higher ABV beer. Old habits die hard.

        I have some thoughts on session beers holding just as much flavour, but perhaps I should save that and actually write some more beer reviews!

        Apologies for such a messy, badly-constructed comment – just thought I’d get some thoughts down…

      • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:34 am

        A lot of what you say is true. However, we sell 24 packs of low ABV beer in this country for $20-25. That’s encouraging binge drinking. If you drink a 9% beer, you have to take it slow or suffer the consequences.

        Funny that you should mention BrewDog. They actually make a beer called Nanny State that’s 1.1%. I hear it’s rather tasty.

  4. Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Yeah, I think Nanny State was their protest against the bad press and reaction to their super-strength stuff. I’ve tried BrewDog Edge that is a less silly session ale, and it was fantastic, and showed there is more to them than stunt beers.

  5. Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Oh, and as for the 24 packs of low ABV beer – similar situation here.

    What is so frustrating is that pubs and bars get all the criticism for binge drinking, yet they (generally) offer much more controlled environments for drinking than someone’s home and a 24 pack. Yet pub prices are getting ever higher because of high taxes while the huge chain stores can afford to sell beer for basement prices, often as loss leaders. So, more pubs close as patrons are priced out, and more people binge drink at home…

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 10:44 am

      It’s funny we’re having this discussion here. A beer blog in the States was complaining about the Royals banning beer from their celebration this week. A lot was said about British beer. One guy suggested that there are no good pubs in London anymore. He said that they all had the same two or three beers on tap. I countered with the real ale/cask scene you describe. Is that a case of tourist pubs versus the kinds you frequent?

      • Steve said, on April 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm

        There are certainly many tourist traps, and there are also quite a few bad pubs off the tourist trail. I guess if there is one good thing about the pub closures it is that (generally) it is the bad pubs that are closing, and the good pubs that are offering quality and variety in food and drink that are doing well.

        I would say there are always at least five beers on tap, but there are often crappy lagers (Stella, Fosters, Carlsberg etc). More and more pubs over the past five years or so offer cask ales, but that is quite often a limited selection. This can sometimes be because many pubs are tied to a particular brewery, and so are limited to offering that brewery’s beers. If one brewery is dominant in a town or region, there can be pretty limited choice wherever you go – but that is changing.

        However, there are still plenty of pubs with a great selection of beers, if you know where to find them. I could easily right away reel off a dozen great London pubs with at least 8 ales on offer at any one time – but they aren’t all in obvious places. These would range from very traditional British pubs to quite modern bars offering imported craft beer from around the world alongside the UK stuff.

        It is also worth bearing in mind the volatility of cask ale – you not only need to find a pub with a good choice of beers, you need to find one that knows how to look after them! So, it can be difficult to find a good beer in a good pub if you haven’t done your homework.

      • builderofcoalitions said, on April 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

        Thanks for the clarification. I’m copying and pasting this to the thread I mentioned above. I’ll leave a link in a moment.

  6. […] I figure some headings might be useful, to structure my thoughts and all that, and so I will be adapting them from my beer review headings, which reminds me that I really should be penning some beer-y thoughts rather than this nonsense, especially after all this fun beer-based discussion yesterday. […]

  7. Greg Koch said, on April 28, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the conversation! As promised, I had a chance to give some responses to your 11 footnotes while on my flight from CA to Europe… (I could have watched TRON instead…don’t think I missed anything…I liked the original, a lot, but the new one looked a bit silly)….

    1Stone is practically everywhere, but part of their arrogance lies in the fact that we’re told that we’re not worthy for their beer. Only now is Missouri worthy. And with the growth of the craft beer scene as well as all the groveling in this state for some Stone, maybe we really are worthy.

    1) It’s important to note that Arrogant Bastard Ale, OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale, and Double Bastard Ale make up a slice of our lineup. I know it’s tempting to paint the Stone Brewing Co…and me personally…with the broad paintbrush of three of our 15 or so beers, but it’s not accurate. We’re not arrogant. Boisterous at times? Sure. Loud? OK, I sure can be. Tireless promotors of the craft brewing world? Count me guilty. http://iamacraftbrewer.com/index2.html http://sellingcraftbeer.com/
    It’s important to note that MO is not “only now” worthy. As you might expect, we can’t be everywhere at once and need to grow methodically (albeit a bit meteorically by standard measurements). There was no ‘groveling’ that I ever witnessed. Enthusiasm? You bet. And it made a difference in moving up our timeline to get to MO to be certain!

    2Koch is the Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) of the west. He personifies both the good and the bad associated with Stone’s arrogance.

    2) Sam’s a good friend, so I take this as nothing but a compliment. Again, Arrogant Bastard Ale is arrogant. At the Stone Brewing Co, and me personally, I’d suggest that if we didn’t have a beer named Arrogant Bastard Ale we’d rarely, if ever, get called that.

    3Aside from the stacks of macros in our stores, I’ve never seen so much beer from one craft brewery in Columbia stores. The setups would make ABI and MillerCoors blush. I was lucky enough to see three stacks virtually untouched. I was amazed so much work had been done that morning.
    3) Our wholesaler for MO, Major Brands, really worked hard to get our beers out to stores, restaurants and bars quickly and efficiently. Frankly, I too was amazed at how much they accomplished in such a short time. They really worked hard to make it happen.

    4Founders was a sought after as Stone is, but their beer was absent from Missouri shelves within their first week or two. Even if people buy twice as much Stone, there’s no way we’ll run out for a month. I like that one of my favorite breweries is not only in Missouri, but it should be readily available.

    4) Thanks for the kind words! We’re stoked to be in MO too!

    5My suspicion is that Koch really has just one speech in his back pocket with a few catch phrases. Unfortunately for him, with the increasing exposure due to social media, his speeches will become cliched. Luckily for him, Stone only has a few more states left to invade.

    5) Oh my! Pigeonholed so quickly. ;-]-= I first pulled out the bullhorn last year, and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. It’s a hopefully engaging and entertaining way to communicate for a few minutes in a noisy bar full of people having a great time enjoying tasty beers. Let’s not get too caught up in the whole social media image though. How many people where in the bar? Maybe 300 on the high side (probably a lot less). How many have viewed that YouTube vid? Perhaps it’ll someday grow to 1000. How many view all YouTube vids of similarly-themed bullhorn ‘speechifications’ of mine? Might someday grow to 5,000 views, but likely less than half that. How many have read this here blog post of yours? I don’t know but maybe 1000 views? All told, on the way high-side, that could possibly add up to 6,300 impressions (although prolly nowhere near that). Not much for our planet of billions. Hell, with numbers like that, “tempest in a teapot” could be an overblown description!

    6I do grow weary of this sort of rhetoric. Come on. You have never known oppression, white guy who sells beer to the masses. It’s a little insulting, but it’s probably benign enough by now that I shouldn’t be offended, which is maybe a problem in itself.

    6) Too funny. There’s not much mystery that crazy-preacher-inspired bullhorn on a bar top followed with a stage dive posted to YouTube is a bit of comedy (it’s OK if you don’t think I’m a good comedian…I didn’t choose that career path for a reason) that’s not really destined to be taken too seriously. One should only be offended if they’ve got WAAAAAY too much time on their hands.

    7Koch is part of that hype machine, but the brewery has done an impressive job of branding itself over the past decade. The ever-present gargoyles, the long-winded narratives on the back of the bottles, the use of terms like “arrogant,” “ruination,” “sublimely self-righteous”…You get the point. Stone hypes itself better than any other brewery outside of BrewDog and BD is just emulating Stone. I have to admit that I have been sucked in by the hype machine, but it doesn’t hurt that I enjoy most of their beers.

    7) We get accused of hype. A lot. I think it’s a bit difficult to point to very many circumstances where we hype ourselves. Mostly, others do it for us, and that’s a bit out of our control…and HUGELY flattering! Note, I think us ‘hyping’ would be saying things like “We’re the best!” (we never say that), or “You better not miss out or you’ll be sorry!” (we never say that either). If saying “You’re Not Worthy” on one of our labels is hype, well, um, OK…guilty!

    8Honestly, I came for the beer. It would have been nice to get some Greg face, but I’ll live. I’ve got my beer.

    8) Thanks! I wish I could have made it for a few more days to be able to join the festivities in Columbia. I look forward to meeting you one of these days. I’d be honored to get that pic with you then!

    9Actually, I had some Ruination and Arrogant Bastard the night before at Uprise. We had a happy hour to celebrate my wife sending her final revisions of her book to the press and I couldn’t turn down an Arrogant Bastard.

    9) Congrats to your wife on finishing her book. A huge accomplishment. I know, as I’m actually finishing final revisions of the two books I’m co-authoring right now. Specifically: “The Craft of the Stone Brewing Co. — Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes & Unabashed Arrogance” (doh! Looks like we’re blowing that whole “Arrogant Bastard Ale is just the name of ONE of our beers” thing, huh?). Essentially, it’s the 15-year story of Stone. The other is called “The Brewer’s Apprentice,” and is a deep dive into a variety of aspects of the world of brewing with interviews and perspectives from 21 of the world’s most respected brewing figures. Both are due out in October.

    10The regular AB is just under 8% ABV. Luckily, the Double is not fully double that, but at 11%, it packs a mighty wallop for which none of us were prepared.

    10) Arrogant Bastard Ale is 7.2%. Lukcy Basartd Ale was 8.5%. Double Bastard Ale is indeed 11%…as I like to say, “approach with caution.”

    11I remember no one who liked Nirvana before they hit it big liked them after. Although they haven’t technically signed with a major label, Arcade Fire gets all kinds of crap for their success. It’s hard for people to separate success from quality. Sometimes the criticism is just, but often we dislike a band just because their too big. Of course, the opposite can also be said when we love a band or musician just because they are so popular. I suspect that in beer, both happens simultaneously. Stone, for example, will win over a ton of new fans because they are filling up stores and tap handles just as they will lose beer fans because they’re everywhere.

    11) This analogy definitely rings true to me. I was in the music biz in Los Angeles before defecting for the much cooler (IMO) world of craft beer. Well, at least better suited to me, I wanted to be a rockstar but despite going to the Guitar Institute of Technology in the mid-80’s, I suck as a guitar player. It wasn’t in the cards for me. Now, instead of cute girls for groupies, I get middle-aged men that want to take pics with me. Too funny. And you know what? I ain’t complainin’ one bit. You guys are my brothers. I’m one of you after all. I’m just another beer geek that’s loving this whole craft beer thing. I sometimes sum up the answer to the question “How’d you get into the beer business Greg?” with the simple four-word answer: Beer geek, gone pro!”

    Thanks for the conversation!

    Cheers,

    Greg

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 28, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Rarely does one respond to all of my footnotes. Some love them, some hate them. That said, come back Friday and respond to all 18 of those footnotes.

      I get that it’s unfair to pigeonhole you or Stone based on the Arrogant Bastard line. However, it’s your flagship beer and that narrative on the bottles has been a pretty powerful branding tool over the years. Even the idea that Ruination will destroy your taste buds is pretty arrogant. I always assumed that “arrogant” had a different, more positive meaning for Stone. I saw the arrogance as saying “this beer is fucking awesome and if you don’t like it, that means more for us.” I never saw it as a negative. Some do, but I see it as this punk rock attitude that we’re making uncompromising beer for which the average drinker might not be ready. I see that I may have overplayed the arrogance card, but that’s image we have. Either way, you’re a good sport to play along with it. Based on your comments and even the videos above, you’re obviously having a lot of fun with it. There’s no intent on my part to insult you or Stone. Like I said, I’m a fan.

      Actually, you’re point about Calagione proves your lack of arrogance. Once I realized that you were actually reading this, I worried that you’d take it as an insult, but you were cool with it and saw it for the compliment that it was.

      In regards to the speech, it does look like a lot of fun. Sure, maybe you’re reusing rhetoric, but it’s part of the show. Part of me thought it was great and part of me wished we had seen it from the bar at Sycamore or Uprise. Next time you’re in MO…

      The comment in regards to oppression was left for a footnote for good reason. It’s not an important point, but it’s something that crossed my mind. That’s generally what I use the footnotes for. They explain my thinking or provide some insight that occurred while I was composing. Obviously, that footnote didn’t fit the narrative above, but I like to include whatever comes to mind in my posts.

      Maybe all this is being thrown out of proportion, but we do that here in the craft beer scene. We forget that craft beer makes up like 8% of the market. Also, I think you’ve overestimated the hits this blog gets. 2-3 regularly comment. It’s a big day when I get 100 page views. I about shit my pants when my last Mikkeller post garnered over 500 in a day. I’ve topped 1000 in a day twice and that was the two days I was “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress. Whatever. Thanks for engaging the conversation and not taking most of what I said too seriously. I am a fan. I like the “arrogance,” you bastard. We’ll get the pic the next time you visit. Happy trails, yo.

    • jeffmenter said, on April 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Greg:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment here! Personally, I love Stone’s marketing style because they are one of the few companies that can actually back it up.

      I adore your beers and will always be thankful that Ruination was one of two beers that turned me into a beer geek.

      Also, if you suck as a guitar player you would have fit right in to the music of the ’90s! (<- This last comment is only intended to be a salvo in an ongoing musical differences war that builderofcoalitions and I have… 😛 )

      • builderofcoalitions said, on April 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

        Greg obviously has passion and we know that emotion is more important than skill.

  8. Greg Koch said, on April 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Heh…looks like some formatting took hold and made #8 into an emoticon of some sort. Feel free to change that, format the post as needed to clear it up, and delete this here one.

    Anyway, cheers from the Frankfurt airport! -Greg.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

      Nah, it’s cool. The emoticon adds some character.

    • Pizza Cottontail said, on April 28, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Won me over. It’s impressive that the founder/brewmaster takes some time to respond to posts about his brew. Since I don’t drink anymore, all I can respond to is the marketing. This is the way to go. Hyper-local, internet-style. Two kudos.

  9. KR said, on April 28, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    What the flaming god-forsaken #$%@&! Seriously, BoC, I’ve been wondering what is going on with the lack of posts from you. Turns out? I broke your RSS feed somehow. I still don’t know what’s wrong.

    I have two (2) six-packs of Stone IPA in my frig right now, because I love that beer to death. In other news, a diet of Stone IPA doesn’t help with the trimming down. But as long as Stone shows up in Philadelphia, I will drink it and watch the beisbol.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      Um, I’ve been posting like three times a week since going Freshly Pressed.

      • KR said, on April 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm

        Then I have a lot to catch up on. I better get another 6-pk of Stone.

  10. Alex said, on May 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Holy Crap. I just now saw the comments to this post. Pretty cool of Greg Koch to take the time to (thoroughly!) respond to your post. I tend to find the “hype” doled out by Stone rather amusing and harmless since, like BrewDog, they can back it up with some very solid beer. Looks like their MO debut was done properly, with enough beer to go around for everyone.

    I’m excited to visit Stone in a couple of weeks. My cousin’s wedding in LA is the perfect excuse for a side trip to San Diego Beer country. Sadly, Port/Lost Abbey will be closed when we’re there, but Stone and Pizza Port Carlsbad are locked into the itinerary.

    Kudos on all the site traffic; it’s well-deserved!

    • builderofcoalitions said, on May 7, 2011 at 11:08 am

      Thanks! It was a surprise that he commented but even more of a surprise that he addressed every footnote. Enjoy your SoCal beer-xcursion.

  11. […] Greg did not make it to Columbia during that release. He did however take the time to respond to my blog post on the events of that week. He even responded to each and every footnote. Regardless of your stance […]


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