Empire of beer: Stone opens in Shanghai, Berlin and Napa


Stone Brewing now can make the same boast once made by 19th century Britons — the sun never sets on its empire.

On Thursday, the Escondido-based company opened a tap room in Shanghai, becoming the first American craft brewery with an outpost in China. The 3,200-square-foot bar and restaurant in the city’s central Changning district offers 30 beers on tap, a menu that features local ingredients and an attached 1,000-square-foot garden.

“By pioneering new geographies we’re leading the charge for independent craft beer,” CEO Dominic Engels said in a prepared statement, “and the sheer act of doing so is fueling our creativity and passion.”

Stone Brewing Taproom Shanghai is the brewery’s third overseas operation. A Berlin production brewery and bistro opened in 2016, followed this May by a 1,000-square-foot tap room in the German capital’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood.

The company, which also operates a production brewery in Richmond, Va., expanded its Northern California presence this June by opening a 9,000-square foot brewpub in Napa.

These aggressive moves follow the news that Stone has recaptured its position as San Diego County’s largest brewery, taking the lead from Miramar’s Ballast Point.

Recently released figures from 2017 show that Stone sold 397,000 barrels of beer in 2017, an increase of 15 percent over 2016. Ballast Point, meanwhile, dropped 13 percent from its 2016 total of 430,917 to 377,000 barrels.

Stone’s tap rooms and restaurants, including those in China and Germany, offer the company’s own beers plus brews from other local, national and international breweries.

“The selection will be global,” said Lizzie Younkin, a Stone spokesperson. “There will always be guest taps and they will always be rotating.”

“These are destinations for those interested in craft to explore new things and experience the world’s very best just as they were intended to be enjoyed,” said Greg Koch, Stone’s executive chairman & co-founder, in a prepared statement.

“We hope to inspire a more profound understanding of craft beer, raise the bar in appreciation for America’s craft brewers and, at the very least, bring our fans together over a pint of the good stuff.”