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Stone Brewing Saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ To Berlin Location

It was the first American craft brewery to open in Europe

The former gasworks building that houses the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gar...

Credit: Stone Brewing Co.

Above: The former gasworks building that houses the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Berlin in this undated photo.

Less than five years after opening Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens-Berlin, the brewery announced last Friday it will be closing effective at the end of the month.

“The Stone Brewing business in Europe is on a different trajectory than in the U.S.,” Stone spokeswoman Lizzie Younkin told KPBS News. “The craft beer market is much newer in Europe and our Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens-Berlin was exceptionally ambitious in its size and distance from the city center.”

Stone Berlin opened to much fanfare in July 2014, with Stone founder, Greg Koch, dropping a literal stone — a small boulder — on a crate of international and German beers in front of the red-brick building, formerly a gasworks plant. It was a statement that Stone was going to change the German beer scene.

Stone was the first American craft brewery to open and operate its own brewery in Europe.

“This is about bringing Europe a taste of our vision for craft beer,” Koch said in a blog post at the time. “Just as we breathe new life into this historic space, we will join the German and European craft brewers who together are breathing fresh air into this country’s, and this continent’s, storied brewing culture.”

Well, it appears Germans drinking habits are changing, but just not in the way Koch expected. In the past 30 years, fewer Germans are drinking beer, according to the Financial Times.

While more craft breweries popping in the country, Germans are still buying cheap, industrialized beer, Koch said.

“Unfortunately, according to the stats, most Germans are still ignoring these wonderful beers and buying the cheap stuff,” he wrote in the blog post announcing the closure of the Berlin location.

Despite the Berlin location being named the “Top Beer & Food Destination in Germany” and Stone IPA rated the No. 1 IPA in Germany, according to Koch, Stone was facing some stiff competition from local brewers.

In 2018, the latest year data was available, there were more than 1,500 breweries in Germany, according to the German Brewers Association, the umbrella organization of the country’s brewing industry.

There were more than 6,000 beer brands in Germany as of June 2018, according to the association, and more were expected to open.

Even with its Berlin location closing, Stone will still have a presence in Europe and Germany.

“We have made many converts there, and we will get them good beer,” Koch said. “Some of it will also still be brewed at the same location.”

The Berlin location will be transferred to BrewDog, a Scottish craft beer company and one of Europe’s largest craft breweries.

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