Manufacturing in North County: Something delicious is brewing

Manufacturing in North County has an enormous economic impact, totaling $18 billion annually, which represents more than seven percent of San Diego County’s economy. According to the recent Manufacturing Report by Innovate78 in partnership with San Diego Regional EDC, the industry will continue to prove its resiliency and positive economic impact across the region—even amid trends in automation, globalization and the subsequent effects of the COVID-19 ramifications. Manufacturing accounts for the production of life-changing biomedical equipment, information and communications technology, defense related products, lighting solutions, and craft food and microbreweries, among other products used in communities across the world. 

In honor of Manufacturing Month this October, we’re spotlighting one of the 78 Corridor’s largest craft brewers which boasts operations in four of the five North County cities and more than 40 countries around the world. Read on to learn about Stone Brewing’s impact and plans for the craft beer giant’s future along San Diego’s 78 Corridor. 

Craft meets sustainable innovation

Stone Brewing is an San Marcos-born microbrewery with deep roots in North County. Now celebrating its 25 year anniversary, the company that started in a tiny warehouse in the city is the nation’s ninth largest craft brewery. 

In 2020 alone, Stone produced 347,000 barrels of beer, which equates to roughly 86 million pints of beer. To put that into perspective, that’s enough to fill 20 Olympic-sized pools. 

Co-Founders Greg Koch and Steve Wagner (center) during Stone Brewing’s ribbon cutting ceremony in 1996

Greg Koch, Stone Brewing Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, shares:

“This year, Stone is proud to be celebrating 25 years of brewing badass beers in North County. It’s amazing to think about, but the style of beer we helped create and popularize—the West Coast style IPA and Double IPA, embodied by our iconic Stone IPA and Stone Ruination IPA—are now the dominant craft beer styles around the world. You can find beers labeled “West Coast IPA” or even “San Diego IPA” being brewed at craft breweries in such far-flung locales like Australia and New Zealand, Croatia, Poland, Vietnam, Germany, Brazil, and Scandinavia. We’re enormously proud of our part in San Diego craft beer’s influence on the global stage.”

Koch continues, “Stone’s 25th year also brought with it a move to a new distribution warehouse and headquarters in a larger facility in nearby San Marcos. From here, Stone will continue to grow the availability of our beers and those of our friends in craft like AleSmith, Boochcraft, Pizza Port and Societe. North County has been good to us. We’re here for the long haul and couldn’t be happier about that.”

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido

Aside from being a crafting powerhouse, Stone is committed to sustainability in its operations and giving back to its North County community. The company works closely with Escondido’s wastewater authority to maximize water efficiency and power the City’s wastewater plant through recycled energy. In 2020, Stone repurposed 17 million gallons of water, the equivalent of 500 homes’ annual usage in Escondido. The brewery also turns its spent grain from the brewing process into animal feed for local farmers, or converts it to mulch, for use in Stone’s gardens. 

From craft beer to surfboards, to life-changing medical devices and technology services, manufacturing has long been a pillar of the region’s economy, with impacts spanning beyond our community. The manufacturing industry in North County is poised for strong growth, and will remain a significant economic driver for the region. 

Are you a manufacturer in North County looking for business support or local talent? Submit your open jobs for inclusion in our weekly job board series, get in touch with our partners at CMTC or contact your City’s economic development leader to get personalized help.

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