No Stone Untapped? Fight for Brewery Seems Pale Here 


Stone Brewing Co. announced last week that it was going to take longer than expected to choose a home for its planned East Coast brewery, a $31 million project that will bring jobs and prestige to the winning location.

But while Richmond's two competitors for the project have been ramping up efforts to woo the makers of Arrogant Bastard Ale and Ruination IPA, things have been quieter here.

In Norfolk, residents held a street party this month, serving only Stone's beers. And supporters in the other contending city, Columbus, Ohio, are flying two residents to Stone's headquarters in San Diego to lobby the brewery's founders in person.

Meanwhile, Richmond has set up a Facebook page — though so have the other two cities. And Norfolk's has considerably more likes. Beyond that, Richmond's public displays of community support have been limited to posts on social media, many picturing open bottles of Stone's beer on cafe and bar tables across the city.

Stone is the country's 10th-largest craft brewery. According to city officials, its East Coast location would bring as many as 103 full-time jobs and produce 120,000 barrels of beer per year.

It's unclear what incentives the city has offered in an attempt to lure the brewery. Mayor Dwight Jones' press secretary, Tammy Hawley, declines to disclose the details of the proposal. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Style, she says the city's response to a request for proposals put out by the brewery is protected by a nondisclosure agreement.

Norfolk officials have been similarly tight-lipped, though they've bragged publicly about their city's water quality — a factor the brewery has said will be important. They've also noted that Norfolk's port and transportation infrastructure would mean Stone could "move product to 100 million U.S. customers in one day."

Supporters in Richmond have boasted that with 15 breweries open or scheduled to open, the thriving craft beer scene makes Stone an obvious fit.

It's unclear what attributes would make Columbus a good choice, though an Aug. 30 article in the city's daily paper, the Columbus Dispatch, ended with a peculiar swipe at Richmond, noting that "at least Ohio's capital wasn't the seat of the Confederate government."


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