Q&A Spotlight: Greg Koch, Author of “The Craft of Stone Brewing Company”

Below find a Q&A with Greg Koch, co-author of the book THE CRAFT OF STONE BREWING CO.: LIQUID LORE, EPIC RECIPES AND UNABASHED ARROGANCE (Fall 2011, Ten Speed Press). “Since its inception in 1996, Stone Brewing Co. has been the fastest growing brewery in the country—Beer lovers gravitate to its unique line-up which includes favorites such as Stone IPA and Arrogant Bastard Ale. This insider’s guide focuses on the history of Stone Brewing Co., and shares homebrew recipes for many of its celebrated beers.”

GIVEAWAY: Greg is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: JRocHoll won.)



Right: Co-author Greg Koch, founder of Stone
Brewing Company in San Diego.


Where do you write from? 

San Diego is my home, but I am on the road quite a bit. Pieces of this book were written in multiple states and countries (and most intensively while in the air on those long flights!).

What led up to this book?  

I’ve long been active on The Stone Blog, and have never been shy about giving my opinions in online forums and to reporters interested in giving me an interview, but I’d not made a foray into the book world prior to this. In my typical, admittedly overambitious / overachiever fashion, I thought it would be fun (“Fun” is one way to describe it…) to really come out with a bang and work on two books simultaneously! I worked on The Brewer’s Apprentice: An Insider’s Guide to the Art and Craft of Beer Brewing, Taught by the Masters with co-author Matt Allyn, while co-authoring The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance with Stone Brewmaster and co-founder Steve Wagner, and co-author Randy Clemens over the second half of 2010 and first half of 2011.

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What was the time frame for writing this book? 

The Craft of Stone Brewing Co. came together in about a year and a half, during 2010 and the first seven months of 2011. The scope of the book seemed to keep expanding as we thought of more cool stuff to add in, and I have to admit that we missed a few deadlines. (Our editor was a saint through it all — thanks Melissa!) And even though it all caused the publication date to shift around, I think we ended up with a better book as an end result.

How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)?

Both books were secured without an agent. For The Craft of Stone Brewing Co., co-author Randy Clemens approached me with an out-of-the-blue pitch to put together a book. We’d been entertaining the idea, and I felt that the timing was right for a Stone book to chronicle our first 15 years, but just getting started can be the hardest part (save for the part when you actually do get started of course). Randy came to us with the right amount of passion and experience, having been in the craft beer world for several years in addition to having another book freshly under his belt (The Sriracha Cookbook), and we began to see it as a fun possibility. Randy was able to get our book proposal onto the desk of his editor that he’d worked with previously, and she enthusiastically got on board. The rest is history!



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What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

Start earlier! No matter what stage of the publishing process you’re in, start working on the next step as soon as possible. We hit some definite snags putting together the book tour portion, and as I mentioned before, we missed a few deadlines. If you think you’re on top of it, think harder. You’re forgetting something or not thinking far enough ahead.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

We certainly didn’t rush into anything. Hell, we waited until our 15th anniversary to come out with this book. We wanted to make sure to wait until the story was ready to tell, and was able to be told in the right way. We wanted to write the Stone book for Stone fans, and the response we’ve gotten from them thus far has been overwhelmingly positive.

On that note, what would you do differently if you could do it again?

Besides giving ourselves more time to plan everything? Giving ourselves even more time to run through one last time for little minor things. A few little spelling mishaps, a missing step in one of the recipes … minor things, but they still give you that head-smacking “D’oh!” moment!

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Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing the build a platform and gain readership?

We’ve got quite the army of loyal Stone beer drinkers who were really excited to learn more about our story, and it’s been really cool to finally be able to share it with them. We did indeed promote the book through our online channels: The Stone Blog, Facebook, and via Twitter… both @StoneBrewingCo and my own personal soapbox, @StoneGreg.



What’s next?

I’m still doing some events to promote the book and the entrepreneurial advice it contains, as I am quite proud of it. And while I’m happy to write the occasional article for craftbeer.com and have also been asked to write a blog for Inc. Magazine, the writing is going to have to take a bit of a backseat to the day job: Making sure we keep getting amazing and fresh craft beer out the door to our thirsty fans!

GIVEAWAY: Greg is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: JRocHoll won.)

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10 thoughts on “Q&A Spotlight: Greg Koch, Author of “The Craft of Stone Brewing Company”

  1. sldavisca

    Love reading interviews and books about business founders, especially how they write, publish and promote their stories. With a husband who is a home brewer, I can’t wait to look this book up. I remember when we had a friend bring some Arrogant Bastard to the house. Last time we were in San Diego we wanted to go to the Bistro but it didn’t work out. Will have to visit next time. Thanks for featuring this interview.

  2. TroubleBrewing

    As a writer and a brewer, this book is a perfect combination! I’ll actually be starting a Master Brewer course at UC Davis soon and I hope we get to visit Stone Brewery (or better yet, do an internship). This would be a fantastic conversation starter and I’ll definitely pick it up if I don’t happen to win. Cheers!

  3. JRocHoll

    Tried my first Arrogant Bastard Ale a few months ago and it was outstanding! I just picked up a bottle of Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale that I can’t wait to open. This book sounds like it’ll be a great read for craft beer lovers.

  4. PrairieElkLabs

    I really like the fact that you gave the book time to incubate. I know a number of friends who are interested in brewing their own beer, and will love this book!

  5. micheledortch

    Your comment about waiting 15 years for the right story to tell, definitely hits home. I’ve had a book in me for years but haven’t felt compelled to move forward with published…just yet. Some say it’s fear and maybe there is a teeny bit of that, but the larger reason is that I know there is a bigger story to tell and it just hasn’t fully matured yet. So in the meantime, I continue to capture ideas, thoughts and stories in the background…writing the manuscript that will one day get published.

  6. Cara Achterberg

    Ashamed to admit that while I’m an avid beer drinker, I’ve not heard of this beer! Is it because I stayed squirreled away here on the East Coast in Pennsyltucky? I’m curious now, so we’ll have to find it. My hubby just resumed brewing beer after at 15 year hiatus (the smell made his pregnant wife wish to die), so your book sounds right up our alley.

  7. ZaraAlexis

    Congratulations on your book! My father and husband are the beer drinkers in the family. My father makes his own wine, but has not yet had the chance to brew his own beer. Perhaps this book will inspire them both.

    I especially like your subtitle: “Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.” I look forward to reading this.

    Thanks for a chance at winning this giveaway.

    On Twitter: @ZaraAlexis


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