Stone Brewing Co. sends “sell out” tweet one day after Boulevard acquisition, deletes it

stone sell out screenshot twitter

The article below has been updated to reflect comment from Stone co-founder, Greg Koch.

(Escondido, CA) – Stone Brewing Co., at times at the center of social media controversy, found itself in a mess on Friday afternoon.

The official Stone Brewing Co. Twitter account tweeted the following early in the day: “High on list of things we’ll never do. SELL OUT! That is all. #craftbeer”

This came after Stone co-founder and CEO, Greg Koch, tweeted on Thursday, “I will never sell out. Set the co up so it will continue? Yes.”

Neither tweet would be all that special if they didn’t come within 24 hours of the news that Duvel Moortgat had acquired Boulevard Brewing Company, likely to be the largest craft beer acquisition of the year.

While Koch’s tweet remains, Stone’s tweet on Friday has been removed following a flurry of mixed reactions, including a tweet from Boulevard brewer, Jeremy Danner, “Sick burn, bro.”

Update per Koch on Twitter: “Ill-timed on our part. NOT directed at [Boulevard]. Apologies that it seemed so.”

Tensions were already high on Thursday with mixed reactions to the deal itself. Despite breweries being active on Twitter, they did not publicly comment on the sale using the service, perhaps indicative of the taboo topic around craft M&A deals and “independence.”

Update 1: A Twitter search bug prevented the discovery of this tweet from Boulevard friend and Missouri neighbor, Schlafly.*

Update 2: The bug is specifically when searching for a term and clicking ‘People you follow’. This only brings up a sample of results. We confirmed that no other regional U.S. breweries issued public comment on the sale on their social media feeds by setting up custom lists. Correspondence has since been out to more than half of the regional breweries in the U.S. for direct comment on the sale.

Stone Brewing’s distribution arm in San Diego County carries the Duvel Moortgat portfolio. Boulevard is carried by Young’s Market in that region.

Stone did not immediately return a request for comment.

18 thoughts on “Stone Brewing Co. sends “sell out” tweet one day after Boulevard acquisition, deletes it

  1. They should have kept the tweet up. At least they’re being honest. Craft beer only remains craft beer when it’s self-owned. When all the good breweries are owned by big corporations then craft beer is dead.

  2. Well this is crap. It seems the good small brew greedy owners are selling out for payola, up and up the chain, which will most definitely affect product, which will get marginalized was the bigger and bigger fish simply are chasing the almighty dollar. At this rate 80% of the awesome breweries now will be piss-water owned by Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and SABMiller.

  3. Brewery Ommegang still makes some really high quality beer–I’d be surprised if Duvel’s acquisition affected the Boulevard quality at all.

  4. So what happens when a craft brewer is bought by another craft brewer? That’s basically what happened here. Duvel isn’t exactly InBev. They already own and operate Ommegang, and they brew La Chouffe and De Koninck. They produce 700,000 barrels of beer a year with those names combined. More of this stuff is going to happen as some of the older craft brewers run up against retirement age, and those without succession plans in place may choose to do what Boulevard did. And hopefully, they pick a company that will keep their best interests and not one that will gut them and turn them into a caricature of themselves. Someday, maybe Stone will buy another brewery…

  5. This:

    “Brewery Ommegang still makes some really high quality beer–I’d be surprised if Duvel’s acquisition affected the Boulevard quality at all.”

    and this:

    “So what happens when a craft brewer is bought by another craft brewer? That’s basically what happened here. Duvel isn’t exactly InBev. They already own and operate Ommegang, and they brew La Chouffe and De Koninck. They produce 700,000 barrels of beer a year with those names combined. More of this stuff is going to happen as some of the older craft brewers run up against retirement age, and those without succession plans in place may choose to do what Boulevard did. And hopefully, they pick a company that will keep their best interests and not one that will gut them and turn them into a caricature of themselves. ”

    Last time I checked, Duvel had a 95/100 rating on BA and Ommegang STILL has an overall rating of 97 on same said site. I know KC residents are butt hurt right now because the local brewery has expanded, but as a CRAFT BEER FAN, if this end up putting Boulevard’s brews in my area, all the more better for me.

  6. When the current batch of “craft brewers” get bought or sell out then the next talented home brewer will step up and fill the gap. The genie is WAY OUT of the bottle. Don’t get too attached to those old familiar names.

  7. ask Greg Koch who is running the Airport and Liberty Station Bistro…it sure as heck AINT Stone. They are lying and hypocrites.

  8. The paragraph about regional breweries not commenting on their social platforms is admittedly without proper context which would probably require a post in itself.

    The idea is this: the craft beer industry is unlike any other, right? These social media platforms are powerful & a single update can command hundreds if not thousands of actions (comments, likes, retweets, etc). The more thoughtful question behind my otherwise crass/off-the-cuff remarks is whether breweries can/should/would want to use these platforms to shape the realization that many craft beer drinkers don’t currently have: Craft beer is still a business. What roles should breweries take, if any, in shaping conversations around breweries being sold and trademark disputes, etc.?

    Maybe breweries could share a thoughtful post on craft beer industry changing more & more into bigger business. Maybe they could stick up for Boulevard or issue a public ‘congrats.’ They don’t ‘have to’ do these things obviously but would it benefit the industry as a whole if they did?

    As noted in an update, correspondence is belatedly out to more than 40 regional breweries on this topic. It may go nowhere. It may go somewhere. We’ll see.

  9. The Stone people are assholes. I think I’ve heard of them saying one thing I agree with, ever, and even it was phrased so obnoxiously that I didn’t want to associate myself with it. :) All you really have to do is read an Arrogant Bastard label to realize you’re dealing with, well, arrogant bastards. I can’t afford the beers they brew, so I won’t be buying their stuff either way but even if I could afford to get it, I wouldn’t.

    Oh, and you know what I saw the other day. Big banner outside a liquor store with a Stone logo. “Our beer isn’t too expensive, you’re too cheap”, it read. Seriously, f— off Stone. I’d love to see them go bankrupt and see the owner have to live like the people he insults.

  10. I believe that it was a coincidence that those tweets from Stone happened within mere hours of Boulevards and Duvel’s announcement. I also believe we are the descendents of pigs who once colonized the moon until the atmosphere broke down and all gravitational pull came apart. The pigs prepared and carefully floated to earth where they eventually learned to send totally non-related jabs on twitter just because it was you know, something that had to be said that day.

  11. Much ado about nothing. All the “BA-holes” of the world get their panties in a knot every time something happens in the beer world that they dislike. Guess what doods: beer is a BUSINESS. And a fast-growing one at that. Businesses make big-boy business decisions, and they really don’t need to care what the fan-boys on BA have to say about it.

    The sale is going to put Boulevard on a lot more shelves than it currently sits on, and that IMO is a very good thing as they are a fantastic brewery.

  12. And Adam, guess who distributes Duvel. You got it!! Stone does!!

    So why say something as rude and disrespectful about a company that makes you money? The truth? The truth is GK doesn’t care what you think. He believes he is the representative of craft beer. If you dont think they believe they are above and better than you just check the job titles on their page and look at the massive turnover rate they’ve experienced in the past 12 months.

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