Stone Brewing Launches Direct to Consumer Sour Program

Stone Brewing just announced the launch of the Stone Mission Warehouse Sour Program. Although beer fans know Stone for its hop-forward IPA centric lineup, this new line is an extension of the barrel aging program Stone launched in 2012.

Stone's new sour program will focus on barrel-aged, blended, fruited beers. The releases will occur quarterly and will be relatively small (only 400 4-packs of the debut release will be available). In another departure from Stone's traditional model, these beers will be sold on a direct to consumer (DTC) basis.

The DTC model is growing in popularity across the industry for a few reasons. First, it's very profitable. When a beer is sold through a grocery store, bottle shop, or bar, both the distributor and the retailer keep a portion of the sale (part of the three-tier system). By selling directly to the consumer, the brewery essentially keeps the full selling price. Second, DTC allows the brewery to control the retail experience. Customers generally pick up their beer at their brewery. While there, they'll likely have a beer. Maybe they'll buy some brewery swag as well. It's good businessand it's profitable!

DTC works particularly well for limited volume and special releases. It's not efficient or effective for large volume releases. I think we'll see more and more of the DTC model in the future.

For more details about Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc and the new program, check out Stone's news release below.

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Stone Brewing Announces the Stone Mission Warehouse Sour Program
Online only, presales begin February 23 for Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc

ESCONDIDO, CA – Years in the making, Stone Brewing announces a new series of beers unlike any released in the brewery’s 21-year history. Known most commonly for its aggressive and hop-forward beers, Stone dives enthusiastically into the world of funk. The first of the year’s quarterly releases, Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc, launches with online presales February 23, 2018.

Steve Gonzalez, Stone Brewing small batch senior manager of brewing and innovation, has been managing Stone’s barrel aging program since 2012. All the while he’s been experimenting with sours at the nearby off-site barrel warehouse in Escondido. Stone’s base sour is true to the traditional European sour, brewed with malted wheat, un-malted wheat, malted barley, three strains of Brettanomyces yeast, Lactobacillus and aged hops. Fresh fruit and blends of other barrel-aged beers will make each release unique.

“We live in California, one of the bread baskets of the world, said Gonzalez. “Fruit has a traditional place in sour production so it feels good to use what’s local. This project is near and dear to my heart. It’s an ode to traditional sours, but with new-world elements and the same do-it-your-own-way mentality that Stone brings to its approach with every beer.”

Stone Mission Warehouse Sour - Sauvignon Blanc was brewed with California Sauvignon Blanc grapes alongside red wine barrel-aged Stone Cali-Belgique IPA.  The base brew was fermented with juice of the Sauvignon Blanc grapes, Lactobacillus bacteria, Belgian yeast strains and wild yeast. This blend was then combined with the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA, which had been foudre-aged for two years with three strains of Brettanomyces yeast.

The traditional techniques alongside unique blending methods creates a complex sweetness and mild tartness with lots of soft oak complexity. The grape flavors come through powerfully. The funk was intentionally limited to make for a cleaner tasting beer.  Flavors will evolve over time, with some mild funk increasing with age. This beer is appropriate to drink now, and to cellar for years.

The first Stone Mission Warehouse Sour released quietly in 2017, selling out its very limited-volume stash in a matter of days. Stone will release only 400 four-packs of its debut release of 2018. Fans can expect quarterly sour releases throughout the year. A distinct fresh fruit will be the highlight of each, with some seasonality at play. Four-packs of 330ml bottles are priced at $32, which includes all taxes, service fee and CRV (if applicable). Stone Mission Warehouse Sour – Sauvignon Blanc bottles can be picked up from March 11 – 25, 2018 at select Stone Brewing locations.  

Order here for pickup at:
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station
Stone Company Store – Pasadena

Order here for pickup in Virginia at:
Stone Company Store - Richmond

“I’ve been into sours for 25 years,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder. “I first visited the famed Cantillon in 1995, just before founding Stone Brewing. Since then I have been enjoying the trial beers that our brewers have been quietly experimenting with. A LOT of planning and experimentation has gone into this program and we think the outcome is something really interesting, authentic and pleasantly unexpected of Stone.”

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