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Stone Brewing Co. rolls on with plans for new restaurant, hotel

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Stone Brewing Co. has an innovative flagship restaurant and brewery in Escondido, a company store in South Park and a just- opened place in Oceanside — but has even grander plans for expansion in the county.

The company is also working on a hotel, a packing house, an agro-tourist facility and another bistro in Liberty Station.

"We have a problem of being overachievers a little bit," said Greg Koch, the company's CEO and co-founder who, along with Steve Wagner, started Stone in 1996 in San Marcos.

Things are going well with the newest addition: a 5,000-square-foot store, Stone's third location, in Oceanside, Koch said.

Located at 310 N. Tremont St., the store — which opened in July — will "provide a new destination for our visitors and locals alike," said Leslee Gaul, CEO and president of Visit Oceanside Conference & Visitors Bureau, in a news release. "It is an ideal fit for our beach community's authentic and creative vibe featuring small businesses with unique offerings."

Built by Richard & Richard Construction, the Oceanside store has a lot of thematic similarities with the Stone Escondido location: concrete, steel, granite counters, numerous boulders and trees and a glass-pane garage door.

"This one was rather straight-forward," Koch said. "The city of Oceanside was extraordinarily helpful in working with us."

Construction involved remodeling an 800-square-foot building over a three-month period.

When finished in the first quarter of 2013, it will be 23,000 square feet, feature an acre of outdoor space and be one of the larger restaurants in San Diego County, Koch said.

"That's a dramatic project," Koch said. "It's the No. 1 thing people ask me when I'm out and about. It's great that people are looking forward to it."

The Liberty Station facility will also feature a 40-tap draft system, 10-barrel brewing system, a company store, private event spaces and create 130 jobs, according to Stone's website.

If that's not enough to keep the brewing company busy, Stone is working with the county to turn its 19-acre farm nine miles from the Escondido brewery into an "agro-tourist spot" (where farming will continue, providing produce for Stone’s restaurants) Right now, employees farm 4 to 5 acres of it.

In early 2013, Stone expects to break ground on a 48-room, $24 million hotel across from the brewery, which will also house its corporate offices, a barrel aging system for special beers and host events.

The hotel should be completed in two years, Koch said.

There will definitely be some carry-over from Stone's Escondido store in terms of design, Koch added, that includes combining plant life, water elements and stone.

There are also plans for a 55,000-square-foot packing house, adjacent to the Escondido brewery, featuring kegging and bottling capacity, and an expanded barrel aging program.

Hamann Construction -- which is also working on the other projects -- is expected to finish the facility by the year's end, according to Stone officials.

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