Friday, April 07, 2006

Lee Chase leaves Stone Brewing Co.

Just caught this on a visit to the Beer Advocate forums...

Lee Chase, head brewer at Stone Brewing Co., has decided to leave. There's a video blog about it all here. This comes as a shocking development... Brewing ain't exactly a lucrative business, but if there's a prime position as far as brewing within the craft beer (vs. big three) industry, I'd say it would probably be the head brewership at Stone. The brewery is nationally and internationally recognized and eagerly sought-after by beer geeks across the globe. In addition to that, it's pretty damn successful in terms of money, and I would wager it pays a considerable bit more than the average brewpub.

I can't help but wonder what the hell Lee is going to do after leaving Stone. Perhaps he seeks to start his own establishment in search of more creative freedom - I don't exactly know what the situation was like at Stone, but it really did seem like most everything that happened was an product of CEO and Dear Leader of Stone Greg Koch's vision, not anyone else's. I shouldn't be concerned about any downgrade in the quality of Stone's beers - they have too much riding on it to let that happen. Also, as good as their beers are, none are really all that nuanced in either flavor or construction, and there are plenty of decent brewers out there who should be up to the task. At the end of it all, I'm just damn surprised that this happened. Seemed like he had a good thing goin'...


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