“We do a laundry list of things to make sure fresh beer gets to market everywhere,” Engels says. “I’m not sure how much the consumer always sees it, but I do see a strong thematic shift potentially coming where local will be mitigated by the idea of freshness. We’ve seen that for a long time and we continue to see that conversation be balanced between those two factors.”
Stone stamps a produced-on date for its bottles and cans, and its “Enjoy By” IPA series includes the date by which customers should consume the beer.
“Every consumer can see what Stone’s doing from a freshness basis,” Engels says. “I do think a brand like Enjoy By goes a long way to explaining that, but we have a lot more work to do.”
Aside from its lineup of six core, year-round offerings, Stone rotates its seasonal offerings with two beers per season, three times per year, alongside special releases. Along with its pale ales and IPAs, Engels says the brand gets a following for its stouts like the popular Xocoveza, an imperial stout inspired by Mexican hot chocolate brewed with cocoa, coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
“There are other breweries that have a fairly significant concentration in one beer within their portfolio, and Stone is taking a different approach,” Engels says. “We’re victims of our own curiosity, and we like to make different beers.”