The Berlin beer scene is about to get bolder, brasher and a whole lot hoppier.
Five years after announcing its desire to build a brewery in Europe, Stone Brewing Co. has closed on a deal to open a brewery and bistro in Berlin, becoming the first American craft brewer to independently own and operate a brewery in Europe.
"The possibility of sharing our beer with Europeans is very exciting. For a lot of years, we've had many people coming from Europe to San Diego to visit our brewery," said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing CEO and co-founder. "It's a turning of the tables but only in the very best of ways."
Known for its big flavored and largely hop-centric beers, Stone will be renovating a former gasworks plant in a move expected to cost at least $25 million. Once proper permits are secured, the construction is expected to take 14 to 20 months, putting Stone on target for an opening in late 2015.
Upon its completion, the total indoor and outdoor space will be more than two acres and include a brewhouse, a packaging and distribution center, a Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurant and a Stone Company Store.
The brewhouse will be a minimum of 70 barrels and produce year-round and special-release brews that will initially be packaged, kegged and served on-site, but will eventually be distributed in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
When it comes to this particular property, you might say it was love at first site for Koch. But as with many of the best love affairs, this one was complicated.