Stone Brewing Co., one of the country’s largest craft breweries, is searching for a large-scale facility and Michigan may be one of several locations under consideration.

 West Michigan Beer Tours received a copy of a document, titled “Project Suds,” which specifies requirements for a “brewery operations facility.” It has been sent to economic development agencies around the state. The project, which appears to be a massive undertaking, seeks an “existing building, planned development, or undeveloped land.”

The project requires a building of at least 130,000 square feet with up “with room to expand within or to an adjacent building or buildings to a maximum of 220,000” square feet.

The language is similar to that posted on Stone’s website for an East Coast facility (See page 32: It appears Michigan, including some West Michigan communities, is just one of many states interested in the project, which is estimated to create around 370 jobs, according to Stone.

The Charlotte Observer reported on March 18 that several cities in the Carolinas, as well as Bethlehem, Pa., parts of Alabama and East Tennessee’s Blount County are interested (read more here:

Here are some of the other highlights that shed light on the scope of the proposed project:

  • It should be located “within one mile of major freeway/access routes.”

  • It should be classified as “commercial, light industrial, industrial – suitable for logistics operations, early/late.”

  • Requests and “outdoor area of one acre that can be permitted for use as an outdoor dining area and improved as an outdoor garden and event space.”

  • “The building should have 15,000-30,000 sf (square feet) that can be permitted for use as an indoor dining area with a beer and wine bar.

  • Requests a kitchen with 6,000 square feet that can be easily converted and permitted for used as a full-service kitchen.

  • Asks for a 1,500-square-foot building to be used as a store.


The “Project Suds” document required a response by Feb. 12.

 Stone Brewing Co., of Escondido, Calif., ranks fifth in the country in terms sales volume, according to the Brewers Association’s rankings of the nation’s top craft breweries in 2012 (the 2013 numbers have not been released). By comparison, Bell’s Brewery Inc. ranked No. 7 (See the full list here:

For perspective on facility moves such as this, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based New Belgium Brewing Co., ranked No. 3 in the U.S., recently announced plans to open a new brewery in Asheville, N.C. The 130,000-square-foot facility is due to begin brewing in late 2015, according to the brewery’s website. It will have the annual capacity to produce as many as 500,000 barrels annually.

Bell’s, Michigan’s largest brewery, made more than 250,000 barrels in 2013. Its Comstock Township facility has the potential annual production of 500,000 barrels.

The Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co., the state’s second largest brewery, projects it will make 200,000 barrels in 2014.

Stone stopped accepting bids on March 15.