United Way’s Emerging Leaders Council has put the CEO spotlight on Stone Brewing‘s Greg Koch during an event held on August 10th, 2016 at Stone Brewing Liberty Station. We were lucky enough to attend this amazing event and it was no wonder to us why Greg was chosen to be spotlighted. He helped develop Stone into the 10th largest craft brewer, all the while remaining true to the company’s core values.
When asked what it takes to work for Stone Brewing Company, Greg responded with “Be Amazing”. With everyone holding themselves to that standard, is it any wonder why the company continues to grow and push the boundaries?
Greg talked about his strong beliefs on how local companies can grow rapidly and be extremely successful without selling out. He also discussed what drove Stone’s success under his leadership over the last 20 years. He classified himself as being rebellious, being that he likes to challenge what corporations tell the population what is good and what is not. He has always viewed himself as a “Beer Geek Gone Pro” and has seen a company’s biggest competition as people’s low expectations instead of focusing his efforts on other companies. He set out to change people’s minds about what beer should taste like 20 years ago and has never looked back. Now that Stone is the first American craft brewery to open a location in another country (Germany), his latest mission is to change the way people in Berlin think about American beer.
One of the many things we love about the craft beer industry are the collaborations that happen between breweries. Stone has helped create some epic collaborations over the years that have left us wanting more. The flavor profiles are as unique as the breweries behind them and they have all been as amazing as those involved in creating them. During the audience Q & A, we had the chance to ask Greg which brewery he would love to do a collaboration with in the future that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work with yet. He started his response by thanking us for appreciating the art that goes into collaborations and then spent some time talking about his current collaborations in the works at their Berlin, Germany location before jokingly saying “wait but that’s not answering your question is it”. After some consideration, he finally landed on his pal Vinnie. According to Greg, Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River Brewing Company is a good friend of his who is famous for saying he would never do a collaboration and is not afraid to tell Greg “NO.” He spoke of his admiration for Vinnie and said that he would definitely love the opportunity to collaborate with him one day. Here’s to hoping because we are sure that would be a dream come true for many fans of both breweries!
What would Greg tell his 25 year old self? “Go for it & hold back less.”
Hearing Greg speak was an amazing experience. It was an opportunity to learn from a genuine and passionate human being that is well respected in the craft beer community. He is an excellent example of an individual who was able to defy the boundaries that corporations set. He wanted to shatter the image that others painted, and in doing so created a product that blew people’s perceptions away.
United Way’s Emerging Leaders Council put on a wonderful event in partnership with Stone Brewing. It was an extremely enjoyable evening with great food, great beer, and great people to connecting with. A huge THANK YOU goes to all those whom helped put on the event and Christina Hastings for letting us know about it. And of course, let’s not forget to thank CEO Greg Koch for taking the time to share his passion and art with the rest of us. Through sharing his passion, he has helped the world fall in love and change their minds about craft beer. If you ever get the opportunity to hear him speak, we would highly recommend that you take it.
We made the cut! Check out this cool video recap made by United Way:
Here are some photos we took during the event:
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