Stone Brewing, one of the ten largest craft beer brewers in the United States, opened their latest branch in Shanghai last week, becoming the first independent craft brewery to have a physical presence in China.
Located next to The Cannery on Yuyuan Road, the rustic restaurant and bar has 30 taps and Asia’s first flux capacitor, a device that individually controls the pressure at which each beer is poured.
The outlet is “a natural step” for the San Diego-based brewery, said co-founder Greg Koch, after discovering parallel importers were selling his products in poor condition and at high prices in Shanghai’s burgeoning craft beer scene.
“I wanted to fix that,” said Koch, who was in town for the opening. “We said, ‘Let’s see if we can set up a really efficient cold chain system that we can get our beer over here at a very reasonable price and in great quality condition.’ And we learned how to do that over the last year and a half.”
According to Koch, Stone Brewing grew more than 30 percent a year during the earlier days since starting in 1996, and is predicted to grow about five or six percent in 2018. But as the eighth largest independent craft brewer in the United States, there’s still plenty of room for expansion.
“People like Sierra Nevada is almost three times our size while keeping true to their ideals,” he said. “And that’s a great example of a company that’s been able to grow significantly. That being said, we are less than one-tenth of the size of what’s possible of a craft brewery in the US.”
That might be a boon for Chinese craft beer too. Alex Acker from Jing-A in Beijing is flying out to San Diego in August to brew together with Stone, said Koch, and more collaborations are planned with local brewers further down the road.
Stone Brewing Tap Room – Shanghai
1107 Yuyuan Road / 愚园路1107号