Greg Koch: The Exporter
With his long hair and thick beard, the man dubbed by some as "Beer Jesus" spreads craft beer love across the world. Greg Koch, CEO of Escondido's Stone Brewing, has plans for a new Napa, CA, taproom, and has already opened Stone breweries in Richmond, VA, and Berlin, Germany. Though the international expansion should be cause for unanimous celebration amongst beer fans, Koch has met with resistance from a vocal minority — not from Europeans, but yanks who view the brewing of double IPAs overseas an act of "brash Americanism." Koch is confounded by the stance: "We should be proud of the fact that American craft beer styles have found their way onto the mantle of world class styles," he says.
Still, such defiance is nothing new for a trailblazing entrepreneur like Koch. "I would often get the question: 'Hey Greg, aren't you afraid that people in Germany and Europe won't like your kind of beers?' And my answer has always been, 'No, because when we opened up in San Diego 20 years ago, they didn't like our beers then, either.'"