Jun 27, 2022 - Food and Drink

Sapporo buys Stone Brewing, including Richmond operations

 Sapporo and Stone beer cans lined up
Image courtesy of Stone Brewing

Sapporo, Japan's oldest beer brand, is buying San Diego-based Stone Brewing, in part because of Stone's 6-year-old Richmond brewery operation.

  • The deal is expected to close in August for $165 million.

Driving the news: Sapporo will acquire Stone's production facilities in Richmond and San Diego, where it will continue to brew Stone beer as well as its own beer under its own labels, according to a news release. Production at both locations is expected to double by the end of 2024.

  • Sapporo will be the owner of both brands, as well as Stone's two existing restaurants and five taprooms across the country.
  • The deal will allow Sapporo to expand its distribution in North America while saving on rising international shipping costs and logistical headaches, Nikkei Asia reports.

Why it matters: In 2015, Richmond City Council approved $33 million in bonds — and the state kicked in an additional $5 million — to secure the city as the East Coast production headquarters for the California-based craft brewer.

  • Stone's part included lease payments to the city for the 12-acre, city-owned site of its Fulton Hill brewery, its own investment of $74 million to build the brewery and a promise to bring at least 288 jobs to the city.
  • Of the $33 million, $8 million was earmarked for Stone to open a restaurant and beer garden at Richmond Intermediate Terminal on the James River.

What they're saying: "One of the reasons Sapporo has chosen to acquire Stone is our brewery and the team in RVA … [and] we look to invest significantly in capital expansion and new jobs over the next 18 to 24 months," Nikole Norin, a spokesperson for Stone Brewing, told Axios in a statement.

State of play: Six years later, work on the restaurant still hasn't begun, but Stone Brewing told Axios that it's in touch with the city to finalize the bistro plans before the sale closes in August.

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