stone brewing

Hundreds Laid off at Stone Brewing in Pandemic's Wake

The craft brewer is not the only local business in its sector feeling the pain from the pandemic, according to a published report.

NBC 7 San Diego

The coronavirus unemployment claims continued this week, with hundreds of Stone Brewing employees being pink-slipped in the wake of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.

The number of affected employees at Stone – more than 300 -- is large, of course, simply because the iconic brewery has many locations, some of them very large.

“We have made the decision to lay off some of Team Stone as a result of COVID-19,” said Stone CEO Dominic Engels in a news release. “This includes the majority of our Bistro and Tap Room employees. We continue to employ a small crew to operate our Bistros and Tap Rooms with delivery and curb-side pickup.”

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Stone got its start early in the craft-brewing timeline, beginning to make beer back in 1996 in San Marcos, eventually moving its headquarters to Escondido. Its beers have won many industry awards over the years; the company was crucial in putting San Diego County on the industry map.

The layoff news for local beer makers isn’t isolated to Stone, of course, with San Diego County employees getting bad news in recent weeks at several other breweries, according to a report at

Stone Brewing operates six locations in San Diego County, including large Bistro & Gardens sites in Escondido and Liberty Station, in San Diego’s Point Loma neighborhood; as well as sites in Richmond, Virginia, and Napa and Pasadena, California. The brewery is most well-known for its Stone IPA, Tropic Thunder lager, Tangerine Express IPA, Ripper pale ale and Ruination Double IPA brands. It also produces many special-release brews as well.

As sad as the news was at Stone, a representative said company officials were pleased they were able to save some workers’ jobs by transitioning more than half of their bar and restaurant sales reps to positions helping out with high demand at markets and grocery stores.

“This is an extremely challenging time for everyone….” Engels continued in the news release. “It is our sincere hope that when we make it through this pandemic, and as the economy and demand warms back up, we’ll be able to look forward to welcoming folks back to their jobs.”

We’ll drink to that.

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