Kind of a good news, bad news month for Stone Brewing, the company that recently changed it’s name, dropping the “Co.”
Good news first? Time for Oakquinox on March 20. “For the seventh year, Stone Brewing will be celebrating the ‘delicious extravagance’ that happens when beer meets wood,” officials said. “As if one needed an excuse to spend a day at the World Bistro & Gardens, this will be a fun-filled event.”
Unfortunately, some bad news from the wonderful world of Stone as — not, so — well. The much-touted 19-acre Stone Farm designed to bring home-grown produce and fruits to Stone’s San Diego-area restaurant is no more.
Leased by Stone since March 2011 as a way to demonstrate sustainable food production while providing fresh, local ingredients, the farm couldn’t cut it. Stone posted an online statement that production would cease March 10.
Steve Robbins, Stone’s director of hospitality, attributed economy of scale, rising costs and higher water prices as keys to the demise of the organic farm just east of Interstate 15 and south of Mountain Meadow Road. It had been La Milpa Organica before Stone took over the lease. Owners will seek to lease or sell the property, Stone officials said, holding out the hope that a new leaseholder would continue growing for company consumption.
“Larger producers have infinitely more land and can sell the same organic food at a lesser price. It put farms like ours in a hardship position,” Robbins said to a local news source. “We couldn’t compete. We don’t have 149 acres to play with.”
Robbins added it “was a difficult decision to make from a company perspective, but from day one it wasn’t profitable. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the employees who put their blood, sweat and tears into the farm.”
The farm provided one-quarter of the food consumed at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens in Escondido; Stone Brewing at Terminal 2 at the San Diego International Airport; and East Village’s Stone Brewing Tap Room. Officials plan to make up for the closure with produce from smaller, local organic farmers.
Oy vey, but back to the positive, we have the Stone Oakquinox 2016 to celebrate. Happening at the World Bistro & Gardens, each $49 ticket includes a commemorative glass and 15, three-ounce tasters chosen from more than 100 beers.
Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak will be festgoers’ guide through an impressive selection of barrel-aged and wood-infused brews on tap and in bottles, according to officials.
Oakquinox is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20. For more information visit www.stonebrewing.com/events/stone-oakquinox-2016.