Shame on you, Stone Brewing

by:Kindsey Bernhard07/19/20


On Friday it was reported that Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA) sent a Cease & Desist to Sawstone Brewing Co. in Morehead, Kentucky.

Patrick Fannin of Dreaming Creek Brewery in Richmond, KY sent out a thread of tweets explaining the situation:

I confirmed the tweets with Blake Nickell, one of the owners of Sawstone Brewing.

“They [Stone] first wanted us to limit our geographic market reach so that we could only market/distribute within a certain area,” Nickell explained. “We aren’t even doing any of that [distributing beer] right now but just felt that wasn’t right. But now that doesn’t seem to be an option anyway with attorney number two after our attorney [that] was on a call with him.”

Nickell said that the last thing Sawstone has heard from their attorney is that Stone was adamant the California brewery would only consider a settlement proposal, which requires Sawstone to surrender their trademark registration.

Sawstone Brewing opened in August 2019 and will be celebrating one year of business next month. Stone Brewing was founded in 1996 and has nine locations, eight in California and one in Virginia. Stone closed and sold its $30 million brewery experiment in Berlin to BrewDog for an undisclosed amount in April 2019. According to the Brewers Association, Stone Brewing is the 9th largest Craft Brewery Company in the United States.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Stone Brewing filed a suit against Keystone of MillerCoors to defend its Stone brand.

In the description of this video, it reads “Stone, known for being the antithesis to “Big Beer,” has long waved a flag of bold character, individualism and independence.”

*Inserts a pot calling the kettle black meme*

For Stone Brewing to go after a small, three-barrel brewery in Kentucky is shameful. Stone Brewing has the resources to hire the best attorneys and not think twice about being able to pay bills. But, that’s not the case for a micro-brewery that is trying to stay above water during a global pandemic. A brewery that ONLY sells its beer in their taproom.

The craft beer industry has always been about community. Whether you’re a Sierra Nevada or a one-barrel brewhouse in a small town, this industry is about supporting and helping each other. That’s why I wanted to work in the craft beer industry. That’s why I continue to work in it.

I see this “community” on a daily basis, and especially within the Kentucky craft beer community. It’s why I am passionate about the breweries in this state. It’s why I share different Kentucky beers with you on the weekend. It’s why I wanted to write this story and tell you about how one of ours is being bullied by the bigger upperclassman.

“As new members of the industry, we have felt welcomed with open arms,” Nickell said. “The brewing industry is unique in that most everyone, whether part of a small or large brewery, has a story that starts with small scale homebrewing and a passion for making and sharing good beer with others. Because of this, the sense of community is often put ahead of the competition in the industry.”

“Besides the financial hit of this, which could possibly end us due to our small size and the current events impacting the economy, we are more disheartened that another brewery with a passion for bringing great beer to all would result to bullying.”

Stone Brewing, shame on you. Cancel your suit against Sawstone Brewing. Let them return to serving the people of Morehead great locally made beer.

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