We’ve been at this whole brewing thing since 1996 and can proudly point to many, many friends who’ve been with us from the very beginning. They’ve been there for the conceptions of beers both successful (Stone IPA, Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Enjoy By IPA and Stone Go To IPA) and, well, not-quite-as-successful (Anybody remember 1997's Stone Session Ale or Stone Heat Seeking Wheat?). We’ve had (mostly) hits and a few misses (we wouldn’t be trying if we hadn’t!), and through it all, our fans have stuck by us.
A lot of that has to do with our mutual desire to see what’s around the next corner. We share that thirst for the unknown. It’d be easy to just keep making the same beers over and over again and release a “seasonal” or “specialty” beer once a year or every few years, but that’s just not who we are. I mean, c’mon, you wouldn’t want or expect Stone to become stagnant or stale, would you? Yeah, neither would we. From the beginning, we’ve let our creative style and the forward push of the craft beer movement enthuse and drive us. So, it’s only natural that this interest to stay creative births new beers that, over recent years, have come along at the pace of offspring at a bunny farm. And it’s only natural that new beers best received by our fans be the ones we put our focus on.
After all, while we know what we like, your actions (AKA buying patterns) tell us very clearly what you like. This means that the beers our fans show the most interest in must sometimes supplant others…even those in our portfolio with longer tenures. Though it’s hard to let go of beers we truly love and have put so much of our brewing heart and soul into, soon we will be bidding a fair adieu to two old friends: Stone Levitation Amber Ale and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA.
Without a doubt, this will disappoint some of our fans. We know because we’re bummed too, but the bottom line is that the sales of these two beers just don’t support the ability to keep them in our full-time lineup. These days, our fans are telling us what they really want by focusing their hard-earned dollars on our other beers. It is what it is. You spoke. The silver lining of course is that we’ll continue floating new beers out into the world to allow you to continue casting your votes.
And there’s more good news in here as well. Our reputation for IPAs extends to the black IPA style. You will recall that 2007’s Stone 11th Anniversary Ale became a full-time beer with its re-release as Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, and eventually became one of the benchmarks and higher-rated examples of the style. And many still recall/dream about the much-loved and even more intense Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA.
We hope you’ll be as excited as we are to learn that we’ll be pouring that black IPA knowledge and expertise back into the bottle with a new, über black IPA being released later this year. The name of this jet black beauty will be…wait for it…Stone Enjoy By Black IPA. Expect an ultra-fresh, aromatically hoppy companion to our groundbreaking Stone Enjoy By IPA. Like Stone Enjoy By IPA, it will be subject to periodic limited releases independent from the Stone Enjoy By IPA schedule.
So there you go…something to look forward to! Life is all about balance…well, except when it comes to hopping IPAs (wink). In the meantime, we will be spending some quality time with a couple old friends while they’re still around to enjoy. If you have a chance and are so inclined, we invite you to do the same. Expect to see Stone Levitation Amber Ale on the shelves until May (the last bottling run is scheduled for late February), and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA, which should be available through July (the final run will take place in April).