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McClatchy-Tribune  05/07/2014 7:05 AM ET
Montgomery makes pitch for Stone brewery [Montgomery Advertiser, Ala. :: ]

May 07--Montgomery is trying to lure one of the country's major breweries, and is hoping a social media push will tip the odds in its favor.

Stone Brewing Co., one of the nation's 10 largest craft breweries, is looking for a place to build a brewery of up to 220,000 square feet in the eastern part of the United States. It also wants to build a retail store and bistro.

Cities had until March 15 to submit a proposal, and projects like this normally generate interest from hundreds of potential sites. Those sites are narrowed to a list of finalists over a months-long process.

In the meantime, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a Facebook page called "Montgomery Loves Stone." It features pictures of area leaders showing off the company's beers along with shots of area landmarks with Stone's gargoyle mascot digitally inserted into the frame.

A picture of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival with Stone beers in the foreground includes the caption, "To Beer or not to Beer? Stone please come here!"

The Capital City has plenty of company in reaching out to the beer-maker. Communities in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Tennessee are among the ones that also have launched social media campaigns to sway Stone.

Chamber officials declined comment on the site selection process, citing its sensitive nature.

The company should make waves wherever it lands. In Escondido, Calif., where Stone is based, it employs nearly 900 and produced more than 213,000 barrels of beer last year, topping $135 million in revenue.

Its request for proposal says the ideal site will be east of the Mississippi River and allow for easy access to suppliers and transportation.

The project will feature a full-production brewery, packaging, distribution and administrative operations facility for national and international delivery. A separate Stone World Bistro & Gardens restaurant and a retail location would be next to the main facility; other operations could follow.

The company expects to spend more than $20 million on the initial phase of the project.

Its beers include Stone Pale Ale, Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale.

It was the 17th largest brewery overall in 2012, based on sales volume.


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