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Brewing Billions Without Advertising: Stone Brewing Co.
By: Emory Brown
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The saying goes that “word of mouth is the best advertising.” I can agree on most accounts, but what we sometimes forget to mention is that “word of quality” is what’s driving the “word of mouth.” Stone Brewing Co. has created a mega brewing business right under the noses of Americans who are not even aware of the vast number of brewers that exist around the world. They have created a loyal consumer base of drinkers who are helping usher this brand into the German beer market as Stone Brewing gets ready for global expansion.

Beer is one of the oldest drinks on the planet. I mean oldest. Yet, its ability to be recreated in various forms gives brewers endless ways to create product lines and brands that emerge into the market place and win consumers hearts. And that’s just what they did at Stone Brewing Co. They created a beer surrounded by its brand’s rich culture.
 
From the package design to the actual Stone Brewing stores and bistros located all throughout California, Stone Brewing Co., in the words of Frankenstein’s father is “alive!” The brand is a masterpiece in real-time. The stores are great hubs for social connectivity for the consumers of the beer. Plus, they serve great food accompanied by recipes that require actual use of the beer to make a delicious experience. For example, their Stone Coffee Milk Stout, a special release only available at certain locations, has four recipes consumers can download online. They range from Beef Barley & Soup, Braised Portobello Mushrooms, Cinnamon Dusted Pork Tenderloin, and Chocolate Coffee Milk Stout Cheesecake.

The beer is so good that the San Diego airport had to have a store for itself to showcase California’s brewing excellence. Yet what I think is most brilliant about the marketing of the brand is the way the marketing team looked at its distribution.
 
Consumers can buy it at the Stone Brewery stores, bistros, local groceries, and liquor stores. The bottle sizes range from the standard six-pack to specialty sizes like the 1/2 barrel kegs, and they have an assortment of house beers and special releases that come out every year. This gives the brand legs that continue to promote the quality to its loyal customers.
 
I think one day Stone Brewing Co. will definitely be a case study for how to build a billion-dollar brand on quality, word of mouth, and distribution genius.  


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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