A North County brewing company is turning into quite the San Diego success story.
Stone Brewing Company, based in Escondido, is looking to expand its IPA empire to the East Coast – not just with beer, but with a whole new facility.
Stone is Southern California’s largest brewery and the nation’s tenth largest craft beer producer. In 2013, owners drafted up another location in Point Loma’s Liberty Station, and now it wants to send a bit of San Diego and its beer tastes across the country.
Earlier this year, the company sent out a request for proposals, asking cities east of the Mississippi River to pitch why they should be the bedrock of Stone’s next facility, which would include a restaurant and store area.
Soon enough, several East Coast cities started hopping at the chance.
East Tennessee is bubbling over with enthusiasm as one of the contenders. Fans there are trying to get Stone to their neck of the woods through various media, including a Twitter page the reads "We exist to make Stone Brewing Company aware of the fact they NEED to locate here in East Tennessee.”
“I think they’re great. I think it’s very creative,” said Sabrina Lopiccolo with Stone Brewing Company.
However, the brewery is letting the choices ferment for a bit longer before picking a winner.
“We're able to expand because of the success we've had here in San Diego,” said Lopiccolo, “and I think it's good exposure for San Diego right now.”
Stone wants to put more than $20 million into the project, where they estimate 500,000 barrels of beer will eventually be made annually.
Officials in Myrtle Beach, S.C., have also thrown ring into the barrel, so to speak.
“You have the luxury of 14 million visitors a year that are already going into Broadway at the Beach,” said Brad Lofton with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Lopiccolo said Stone will make its decision soon and may even start building this year.
She would not give NBC 7 any hints as to which city owners are leaning toward.