Craft beer giant Stone Brewing is set to make a big splash with a brewery, taproom and restaurant in the historic Borreo Building downtown Napa later this spring. It operates under this philosophy: “Beer is just as good, and sometimes better, than wine.”
“Beer, especially artisanal craft beer, is multidimensional in character and is now perceived as belonging at the dinner table,” said Greg Koch, executive chairman and co-founder.
A frequent visitor and huge fan of the Napa Valley, Koch said the company wasn’t really looking for another outlet. But the Borreo Building, with its history and prime location at Third Street and Soscol Avenue on the Napa River, was a perfect fit.
“I’ve been coming here [to Napa] for 25 years,” he said. “It’s one of my favorite places. And the Borreo is such an iconic, stand-alone building, and overlooking the river, the location can’t be beat.”
Koch opened Stone Brewing with Steve Wagner in 1996. It ranked as the 10th largest U.S. craft brewer and the country’s 15th brewing company overall, according to 2015 figures, the most recent, from Colorado-based Brewers Association. The Napa location will join Stone Brewing’s other operations in Southern California’s Escondido; Richmond, Va.; and Berlin.
The 140-year-old Borreo Building was in need of a lot of work, however. The landmark building was made of native stone quarried from the Soda Canyon area, and it has been home to a grocery and feed store, a shirt factory, a winery and an Oldsmobile car dealership. It has sat empty for 15 years and suffered damaged in the 2014 earthquake, including some of the stone arches.
Along with being seismically refit, steel lintels for support were replaced in all windows and doors, said Sarah Marshall, partner with Napa Design Partners, the architect on the project and specialist in architectural conservation.
When finished, the 10,000-square-foot space will house a 10-barrel brewhouse and bar on the first floor and casual-dining restaurant on the second floor, plus outdoor seating. Twenty styles of beer will be on tap, with six or seven styles brewed specifically for the Napa location. Ingredients will be sourced locally, using those certified organic whenever possible, Koch said.
Stone Brewing has won many accolades over the years. It has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. Stone Brewing took home six awards in January at Santa Rosa’s RateBeer Best 2017 ceremony, including “Best Place for Beer in the United States” for its World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido.
With 65 brews on tap, Stone’s location in Berlin was also named “Best New Brewer in Berlin” and “Best Place for Beer in Germany.”
It should be noted, Stone Brewing in Napa will also serve wine.
Cynthia Sweeney covers health care, hospitality, residential real estate, education, employment and business insurance. Reach her at Cynthia.Sweeney@busjrnl.com or call 707-521-4259.
Beer in Wine Country
■ 10th-largest craft brewer in the U.S.
■ Brewed 326,000 barrels of beer in 2015
■ Distributed to 19 countries
■ 1,200 employees
■ Listed on the Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies list 11 times
Other breweries in the Napa Valley
■ Downtown Joe’s Brewery & Restaurant, Main Street, Napa (2,000–4,000 gallons per month. All sold at the restaurant).
■ Napa Palisades Saloon, Main Street, Napa.
■ St. Clair Brown Winery, just north of downtown (2 barrels a month with plans to go to a 10-barrel system producing 300 gallons a day)
■ Fieldwork Brewing, Oxbow Public Market, downtown Napa.
■ Mad Fritz brewery, St. Helena. Sells $22–$30 bottles of beer.
■ Napa Valley Brewing Company, Calistoga. Produces 300 barrels for The Calistoga Inn & Brewery, where it is exclusively served.
■ Napa Smith, Vallejo. The south Napa brewer recently expanded to Solano County and has a location in Tennessee. The company plans to double production, in 2015 was about 5,000 barrels.
On the horizon
■ Tannery Bend Beerworks, 101 S. Coombs St., Napa. Opening soon with a brewery and taproom, brewing 250 gallons per week.
■ Yountville Brewing Co., Washington Street, Yountville. The Boisset Collection, owners of Raymond Vineyards of St. Helena and other labels, plans a high-end “boutique” brewery with a seven-barrel system. The brewery could come before the city council this spring.