Sapporo is the top selling Asian beer brand in the US. Founded in 1996, Stone Brewing is the ninth largest craft brewery by volume in the US (according to Brewers Association figures) with brews such as Stone IPA, Stone Delicious IPA and Stone Buenaveza Salt & Lime Lager.
Sapporo says the acquisition will give it major, high-quality brewing capacity on both US coasts that will enable it to significantly increase production to meet consumer demand for its Sapporo-branded beers for the domestic market.
The company will produce its Sapporo-branded beers for US distribution in Stone’s two breweries, in Escondido, California and Richmond, Virginia. Building on existing capabilities, and supported by planned capital investments, Sapporo intends to brew 360,000 barrels in the US by the end of 2024. This will essentially double Stone Brewing’s current production.
“We approached Stone Brewing seeking a partner for our growth plans in the U.S, and we quickly recognized they were an ideal partner with bi-coastal brewing capacity, loyal fans, superb management, shared cultural values, and commitment to the highest quality standards,” said Kenny Sadai, Chairman, Sapporo U.S.A.
“This acquisition puts the resources and legacy of the largest Asian beer brand in America together with one of the most innovative and recognized craft beer brands in the world. It’s a perfect fusion of east meets west that is an ideal marriage for Sapporo’s long-term growth strategy in the U.S.”
Stone Brewing will continue produce its brews at the two breweries, as well as operate its seven Tap Rooms and World Bistro & Gardens destinations with existing branding, management and workforce under the Sapporo umbrella.
Maria Stipp, CEO of Stone Brewing, said: “This unique partnership allows us to preserve the Stone legacy that our fans know and love and will add exponential opportunities for growth, from production to more investment in people, equipment, sales, and marketing.”
Stone is the second acquisition in the craft brew segment of Sapporo U.S.A.’s business, following the acquisition of Anchor Brewing Co. in 2017.
Stone Distributing Co., Stone Brewing’s distribution business, is not part of the sale, and will become an independent company under current ownership, maintaining its current leadership of day-to-day operations. Stone Distributing is a leading distributor in the nation’s largest craft market and will continue to service Southern California with a portfolio of 42 craft brands, including Stone Brewing. As a separate entity from Stone Brewing, it will operate as it does today and with increased investment in its brands, people and future.