• The Taster Tray
  • Posts
  • The first Stoneporro beers are here, and are the dumb really getting dumber?

The first Stoneporro beers are here, and are the dumb really getting dumber?

Read time < 4 min.

Just Tapped

The dog days of summer are upon us. Other than a couple of ongoing sagas, and the constant stream of semi-depressing beer sales stats, beer news is coming in slow. Still, we found a couple of interesting things to share with you this week, so let’s hop to it.

Now on tap, Stonepporo Experimental Lager

Twenty-seven years ago Stone Brewing delivered its first keg of beer to a retail account. One year ago Sapporo announced its plan to acquire Stone Brewing, a deal that closed a couple of months later. Recently, Stone Brewing started pouring beers branded as "experimental lagers" at its World Bistro and Beer Garden locations. Those beers represent the first attempts to produce Sapporo Premium Beer at Stone Brewing’s facility in California.

Admittedly, these locally brewed versions of Sapporo are not yet hitting the mark. They’re acceptable beers --beers that currently earn a rating of 3.68 on UnTappd-- but the company admits the beers are not exactly what Sapporo intends to produce: Sapporo Premium Beer, the company's flagship. (BTW: The real Sapporo Premium Beer is rated 3.18 on UnTappd. Figure that one out.) More equipment is currently on the way from Japan to the brewery in Escondido, California. The yeast, a key ingredient, has already arrived but Sapporo/Stone says it is not yet performing as hoped.

"We did our first big brew. And I'll tell you, it failed. Various lessons learned. It just didn't scale the way we thought it would, so we actually had to scrap that initial brew.”

Sean Monahan, chief operating officer for Stone and Sapporo Brewing, via KPBS.

The Japanese beer maker was not shy about its plan for the future of Stone Brewing's facilities. That plan has always involved the production of Sapporo Premium Beer alongside the familiar Stone beers. Some may ask, why did this happen at Stone Brewing and not at Anchor Brewing, which Sapporo acquired five years earlier? We can speculate and theorize, but does it matter? Although Stone and Anchor are both legacy craft breweries, the similarities pretty much end there.

We are more interested in this whole Stonepporo situation. Is this kind of thing a potential exit strategy for other legacy craft breweries of notable size? Is this situation unique or are there other Sapporos looking to acquire other Stones? We're curious to hear what you think.

Dumb and dumber

This week Anheuser-Busch announced that it is laying off a portion of its staff. Approximately 300-350 people, or 2% of its domestic staff, are impacted. This is obviously, and admittedly, related to the boycotting of Bud Light.

This week, a report from Union shows that Bud Light has slipped to number four in on-premise beer sales. That is, restaurants and bars are buying less Bud Light, just as consumers are buying less of it for off-premise consumption.

Miller Lite, Michelob Ultra, and Coors Light now rank above Bud Light in on-premise sales. And of course, Modelo ranks as the top-selling brand overall. The really dumb thing is, Constellation Brands (Modelo) and Molson Coors (Miller Lite and Coors Light) are just as "guilty" as Anheuser-Busch (Bud Light). It's a fact that Constellation Brands and Molson Coors also support and/or sponsor LGBTQ+ causes and events. It's not exactly a secret. And of course, the really dumber thing is, Michelob Ultra is an Anheuser-Busch product.

Using Bud Light as an excuse, or a means, to stand up and say, “I hate trans people!” is having consequences, that’s for sure. This entirely performative boycott is now causing real people, with real families, to lose their real jobs. And that’s really sad. Behold the power of unintended consequences.

Not dead yet

A group of Anchor Brewing employees (former employees) are apparently moving forward with their efforts to purchase the now-closed brewery, but they’d better move quickly.

“Given our deep respect for the Anchor Union and our team members, should our employees put forward a bonafide, legally binding offer to buy the company, one that includes a verifiable source of funds, we would gladly consider it.”

Sam Singer, a company spokesperson speaking on behalf of Sapporo.

Reports suggest that the employees have made some headway with regard to drumming up financial backing, which is great. However, the window of opportunity is closing. The company intends to file for bankruptcy at the beginning of August. Once that happens, the liquidation begins, as we discussed on last week's Tray.

Say What?

Pretty much the only feedback we got last week told us that people are still interested in knowing about the ongoing situation at Anchor Brewing.

stevendbailey@... said: "Love the Anchor stories."

This week's Taster Tray was composed by Kendall Jones.