The brewmaster at Stone Brewing will depart the organization this month after 10 years with the San Diego craft brewery, the company announced today.
Mitch Steele, who literally wrote the book on how to brew the most popular craft beer style in America, the IPA, is leaving the brewery effective June 30, a spokesperson with the company confirmed to Brewbound.
Steele has been with the company since 2006. In addition to helping the company transition out of its former brewing facility in San Marcos and into its current brewery in Escondido, Steele is credited with developing popular offerings like Enjoy By IPA and Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale.
In a video published to the brewery’s YouTube page, Steele said “industry vets” approached him about leaving Stone to become a partner in a new operation.
“An opportunity like this may not ever come again,” he said. “And it just was something that I thought that if I didn’t give this a shot, I’d regret it for the rest of my life.”
No additional details about his the new venture were available as of press time.
Stone is not immediately planning to hire a replacement, but will instead entrust brewing operations to an “innovation team” consisting of six current brewers.
The departure comes at a time when Stone is preparing to open two new production facilities in Richmond, Virginia and Berlin, Germany. Those projects will not be impacted by the move, a spokesperson told Brewbound.
Three different brewing directors — Joel Grosser, Peter Wiens and Thomas Tyrell –will lead operations at the company’s locations in California, Virginia and Germany, respectively.
“I have no doubt that the beers are going to be excellent coming from these spots,” Steele said in the video.
Meanwhile, lead brewer Jeremy Moynier, Liberty Station brewing manager Kris Ketcham and small batch manager Steve Gonzalez will also spearhead new product development and continue to help oversee day-to-day brewing.
Steele’s exit also comes as the company continues to search for a permanent CEO to takeover for co-founder Greg Koch, who last September announced he would step back from day-to-day duties and transition into a new role as executive chairman. Koch has continued to serve as the company’s CEO throughout the search.
Though not ideal, Steele’s split is nonetheless an amicable one.
“As you wander, we know that you’ll never be lost as there are brewery doors around the world that will open for you and invite you in… and none more readily than the doors at Stone,” Koch and co-founder Steve Wagner wrote on behalf of the company. “We wish you incredible journeys. You’ve made an indelible mark, and we are proud to call you friend.”