Make us your home page
Instagram

American craft brewers setting up shop overseas

Stone Brewing Co. CEO and co-founder Greg Koch, center, toasts the crowd last Saturday after announcing the Escondido, Calif., company’s plan to build a brewery and bistro in Berlin.

Associated Press

Stone Brewing Co. CEO and co-founder Greg Koch, center, toasts the crowd last Saturday after announcing the Escondido, Calif., company’s plan to build a brewery and bistro in Berlin.

RICHMOND, Va. — Helping to quench a growing thirst for American craft beer overseas, some of the United States' largest craft breweries are setting up shop in Europe, challenging the very beers that inspired them on their home turfs.

It's the latest phenomenon in the flourishing craft beer industry, which got its start emulating the European brews that defined many of the beer styles people drink today. The move also marks a continuing departure from the status quo of mass-market lagers or stouts, demonstrating a willingness of American breweries to explore — and innovate — old-world beer styles from Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. craft beer scene is so fresh and dynamic, Europeans are becoming as excited about it as Americans are, says Mike Hink­ley, co-founder of Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego. "Even though they're used to all these amazing European beers, now there's just more variety."

U.S. craft beer exports grew sixfold during the past five years, jumping from about 46,000 barrels in 2009 to more than 282,500 barrels in 2013, worth an estimated $73 million, according to the Brewers Association, the Colorado-based trade group for the majority of the 3,000 brewing companies in the United States. Of course, it's still a fraction of overall production; U.S. craft brewers produced a total of 15.6 million barrels last year.

Just last week, Green Flash became the first U.S. craft brewery to begin making and selling fresh beer in the European market under a deal with Brasserie St-Feuillien, a Belgian brewery founded in 1873. Under the watchful eye of Green Flash brewmaster Chuck Silva, the brewery is making and selling fresh West Coast IPA for distribution in the U.K., Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Italy.

Meanwhile, 500 miles away in Berlin, Stone Brewing Co. of Escondido, Calif., is taking a different approach to meet overseas demand, spending about $25 million to renovate a historic gas works building into a brewery, packaging and distribution center, restaurant and garden set to open late next year or in early 2016. Stone, one of the 10 biggest craft breweries in the United States, will make beer for its bistro and distribution throughout Germany and Europe.

"The idea that we're going to go across the pond as it were to brew our style of beers fresh in Europe is an exciting prospect for us," said Stone CEO and co-founder Greg Koch, who announced the overseas expansion plans last weekend. "When we started out at Stone 18 years ago, we were inspired by a lot of the European brewers … and now to see an inspiration bounce back around the world, that's amazing."

The thirst for American craft beer hasn't always been there.

When the Brewers Association first gave presentations overseas about the American craft beer scene about 10 years ago, people would laugh aloud. They'd even quote a Monty Python skit comparing American beer to water.

"They're not laughing anymore," said Bob Pease, chief operating officer for the U.S. beer trade group. "The word is out now that the highest-quality beer, the most diverse beer, is coming from American craft brewers."

American craft brewers setting up shop overseas 07/24/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 24, 2014 9:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida GDP growth in first quarter 2017 ranks 21st among states, still outpacing U.S.

    Economic Development

    Florida's gross domestic product or GDP rose 1.4 percent in the first quarter, slightly faster than the nation's growth of 1.2 percent and placing Florida 21st among the states for growth rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    Not too hot. Not too cold.

    These Jackson Square Townhomes began hitting the west Hillsborough County market late last year and continued to be sold into the first quarter of 2017. The real estate sector was the biggest driver of Florida's gross domestic product, which rose 1.4 percent in the first quartrer of 2017.  [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. A new app will help you find your favorite Tampa Bay food trucks

    Food & Dining

    What's new: Food tech

    Local food businesses are embracing new technologies and partnerships to bring us extra deliciousness.

    Michael Blasco of Tampa Bay Food Trucks says that everyone always asked about an app to help find their favorite food trucks. There is, available for iPhones and Droids.
  3. Another Pinellas foreclosure auction fools bidders, raises questions

    Real Estate

    For the second time in six weeks, a company connected to lawyer Roy C. Skelton stood poised to profit from a Pinellas County foreclosure auction that confused even experienced real estate investors.

    A Palm Harbor company bid  $112,300 for  this Largo townhome at a foreclosure auction July 21 not realizing the auction involved a second mortgage, connected to lawyer and  real estate investor Roy Skelton -- and that the bank could still foreclose on the  first mortgage.
[SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN   |   Times]
  4. Clearwater-based USAmeriBank acquired by New Jersey bank in $816 million deal

    Banking

    CLEARWATER — USAmeriBancorp, Inc., based in Clearwater, is being acquired by New Jersey's Valley National Bancorp in an $816 million deal, it was announced today.

    Joe Chillura, CEO of USAmeribank, shown inside a branch in Ybor City in this file photo.
[KATHLEEN FLYNN l Times]
  5. Outback Steakhouse sees growth in U.S. and Brazil markets in second quarter

    Retail

    TAMPA — Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands.

    The Outback Steakhouse, on 4088 Park St. N, is showin on July 26, 2017. Restaurant sales were up at Outback Steakhouse  and Carrabba's Italian Grill during the second quarter of 2017, but Bonefish Grill continues to lag at Tampa-based Bloomin' Brands. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]