Image taken from Grilled Ribs
April 1st marked the first day that Stone Brewing Company has been available in Chicago and in greater Illinois. For the craft beer fans in Illinois, this has been a long time coming. With Illinois, in particular Chicago, being as big a state as it is (in terms of population and beer consumption), there are many people who are surprised that this did not happen sooner. According to an interview Greg Koch, the CEO of Stone Brewing company, did with Metromix Chicago this teasing was not done on purpose. Rather, according to Greg: At Stone, we felt from the very beginning [a loyalty to] a very strong philosophy and ethics-driven company. So we focus on making the very best beers that we can and we do not participate—ever—in shady business practices. I’m really not trying to give Chicago a bad time, but the reality is that the beer business in Chicago kind of has a reputation. So we knew that if we were going to be successful we would have to build our reputation as a brewery and as a sought-after beer up very significantly or we’d be left out in the cold.
This is completely true. Any new brewery owner in Chicago will tell you that there is a huge, seemingly endless amount of paperwork that needs to be filled out, and permits that need to be aquired before you can begin brewing beer.
Regardless, Stone is in Chicago now and people could not be happier. For those of you who are not aware of the Stone Brewing Company, here are a few bits of information about this very respectable company:
- Stone is considered the top brewery in the world by Beer Advocate Magazine
- They have an average rating of 'A' in the ratings summary on beeradvocate.com
- Stone's page on ratebeer.com has a similar opinion of the brewery.
- Stone Brewing has so much pull/value that (according to my beer guy) part of Stone Brewing Company's contract with Windy City Distribution dictates that they (Windy City Distribution) build a refrigerated storage facility specifically for Stone beers.
- According to the Stone Brewing Company's twitter feed, based on first day sales alone Chicago is already their 5th largest market this year.
If this was not enough, the Stone Brewing Company has collected instances where they were the focus of articles/news pieces in various magazines, newspapers, etc. In short, for a beer company that has been been making world class beer since 1996, this day was a long time coming.
Personally, I am quite happy to be able to enjoy what the other major beer markets of the country have been enjoying before 4/1/2010. So, if you live in Illinois, be sure to pick up some Stone when you get the chance.