Stone Distributing Adds Craft Brands, Including Villager Spirits of San Diego and Black-Owned Crowns & Hops


When seltzers and other alternatives to craft beer started to gain traction some time ago, Stone Distributing Co. took a chance on hard kombuchas – tangy and carbonated drinks often seen as a healthier drink option.

The Kombuchas were relatively new back then. But the category has taken off and sales of the Boochcraft, JuneShine and Jiant brands in Stone Distributing’s portfolio have gone well, said Anthony Trento, vice president of sales.

Stone is now the largest distributor of hard kombucha in the country. This experience led the San Diego County company to be receptive to the distribution of beverages other than beer.

The latest four additions to Stone Distributing’s stable of over 40 brands include its first alcohol-brewed, cold-brewed coffee – Bomani Cold Buzz. The Los Angeles firm’s slogan is “But first, Bomani,” a nod to making hard coffee the first drink of an evening.

Bomani joins San Diego ready-to-drink cocktail company Villager Spirits, which aims to challenge Cutwater and others in this emerging canned liquor market.

“We are looking to grow in categories all around us,” Trento said. “We really try to make sure that we play in these spaces. “

On the craft brewery side, Crowns & Hops of Inglewood, owned by Black and women, has joined Stone. Its aim is to help make crafts popular in minority communities. Labels often feature people of color. The beers are named BPLB (Black / Brown People Love Beer) and HBCU, an acronym for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In a few months, he plans to open a brewery near the new SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL Rams and Chargers, Trento said.

To complement the new signatories, Tarantula Hill Brewing Co. in Thousand Oaks, whose head brewers worked at Stone for several years. Tarantula Hill extends Stone Distributing’s footprint in the Ventura County area.

While residents of San Diegan know Stone – the nation’s ninth-largest craft brewer by volume – from its breweries and bistros, the company also has a distribution business in Southern California. It delivers cans, bottles and kegs of craft drinks to supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores, as well as bars and restaurants.

Stone Distributing’s territory stretches from San Diego to Santa Barbara and from Long Beach to Palm Springs. It now represents nearly 20% of the craft beer market in Southern California.

Stone’s new CEO, Maria Stipp, has made distribution a priority. The company recently leased an additional 110,000 square foot warehouse in San Marcos to increase its cold storage capacity.

“Our overall business is up 11% from last year,” Stipp said. “We have also seen a solid return to the site, currently around 80% of our investments are back from 2019. We are fortunate to occupy this position alongside brands that we truly admire. “


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