San Diego

Amid Shifting Craft Beer Landscape, Stone Brewing Announces Restructuring and Layoffs

Stone officials said the craft beer industry has become increasingly unpredictable.

Amid a shifting craft beer landscape, Escondido-based Stone Brewing announced they have laid off a fraction of their staff. 

The company laid off five percent of their team members recently.  

"This reduction was not a reflection of the work they did, but a careful decision made to ensure that our company will remain competitive and profitable," a statement from Stone Brewing Co. read.

The announcement comes during a year of strong growth for Stone Brewing. In 2016, the company opened two new breweries: one in Berlin, Germany, and one in Virgina. They also announced the construction of a new beer-centric hotel in Escondido and expanded the availability of their brews to new locations across the U.S. 

Stone Brewing also recently launched True Craft, a company geared toward investing in smaller craft breweries to help them stay independetly owned.

Customers of Stone Brewing expressed their surprised over the layoffs.

"I just find it hard to believe with the growth in beer across the country--can't believe it's slowing down," said Mike Hilfiker, a tourist from Indiana.

NBC 7 spoke to an employee of another local brewery who says the market for beer is becoming too big.

"People are just making beer upon beer upon beer and it's kind of saturating the market a little bit," said Eric Shelley, Head Brewer at Thorn St. Brewery.

"Tremendous pressures" from larger beer company's acquisition strategies and the growing amount of small, hyper-local craft breweries prompted the company to think about restructuring, they said in a statement. 

Stone officials said the craft beer industry has become increasingly unpredictable and, by restructuring their company, they are positioning themselves for a better future.

"Even given this unfortunate circumstance, we will continue to be fiercely independent and, importantly, Stone remains one of the largest – if not the largest – employers in the craft brewing segment," Stone Brewing said in a statement.

The company said they do not foresee additional layoffs in the future.  

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