Stone Brewing Co. has been gobbling up headlines with new projects over the last year. Just check out some of these posts:
This is on top of building its second home in Richmond, Va. When it was announced in 2014, Stone planned to invest $74 million to construct an East Coast production brewery, packaging hall, destination restaurant, retail store and its administrative offices in Richmond. They had planned to employ more than 288 people there, but maybe not anymore. Rumors started swirling yesterday, and according to the CBS affiliate out of Richmond, Stone Brewing has or will be laying off 5 percent of its workforce.
The California-based company said the decline in domestic growth for craft beers and for the company they were forced to restructure to “preserve our independence in an increasingly competitive category:”
The company provided CBS 6 with a statement that read in part:
“Due to an unforeseen slowdown in our consistent growth and changes in the craft beer landscape, we have had to make the difficult decision to restructure our staff. Unfortunately, this comes despite a year that includes the incredible accomplishments of opening two new breweries, which are ultimately expanding the availability of Stone beers and boosting the reputation of American craft beer in Europe.”
“It is crucial to recognize that this decision was made after much careful consideration. Approximately 5% of all team members were affected, and they were offered a substantial notice period and career transition services. No additional layoffs are expected within Stone’s foreseeable future.”
Richmond has some reasonable concerns. According to the article, the City of Richmond issued $23 million in bonds to help pay for the facility and pledged $8 million more to build a destination restaurant near the facility in the Fulton neighborhood. There are a lot of considerations here: growth slowing for big brands; fierce competition; buyers gravitating to local products; and more returns perhaps in destination experiences than on the beer shelves. We’ll keep reporting on these market trends as they evolve. Meanwhile, Stone remains one of the largest employers in the craft brewing segment.