Last weekend, Saturday evening, reports of an alleged forklift accident at Stone Brewing Co. resulted in the death of a Stone Brewing employee (Matthew Courtright). News reports indicate that the forklift overturned and pinned the 27-year-old brewer, resulting in major injuries. Stone Brewing released the following statement:
It is with a very heavy heart that we communicate a tragedy involving one of our valued friends and Team Stone colleagues. We are deeply saddened that one of our own passed away from complications resulting from a forklift accident at our Escondido brewery on Saturday, August 24. Our deepest condolences go out to the team member’s family. Out of respect for the team member’s loved ones, we are not releasing the individual’s name at this time.
We have launched an investigation and are working with authorities to determine the cause of the accident. In the interim, we have closed down brewing operations as well as tours of the brewery today (Sunday, August 25) and anticipate resuming all operations tomorrow (Monday, August 26).
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens — Escondido will remain open as will Stone Company Store — Escondido. People expecting to take a tour of the brewery today will be offered a guided beer tasting at the bar located inside Stone Company Store. We will refrain from commenting further until additional details and information is acquired and the investigation into this incident is complete. Thank you for the outpouring of support we have already received. Our sympathy is with the family and everyone affected by this tragedy.
CEO & Co-founder
President & Co-founder
Yesterday, Stone Brewing observed 24 hours of silence on social media in Courtright’s name.
We had recently posted an article that reported from 2009 through 2012, at least four people died in craft brewery accidents in the United States, compared with two deaths at Big Beer breweries. This is all according to a Reuters analysis of federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration data and local media reports. There were also nearly four times as many safety violations at craft breweries in recent years than at large breweries. Safety will always be a challenge for growing businesses, and we’ll definitely be focusing on more safety issues in the near future.
Till then, our hearts and thoughts go out to the Stone Brewing family.