Stone Brewing is a really big deal here in San Diego and a huge part of the explosion of the craft beer industry nationwide. Stone makes some of the most highly touted beers around. My boys (two sons and a son-in-law) are big craft beer fans, home-brew themselves, and love Stone.
Stone Ruination is a particularly well-regarded beer. But Stone announced a mistake with its packaging today (and my guys were all over it). Stone’s new Stone Mixed 12 Pack features four rotating varieties of year-round beers. The first edition of it was recently released and, according to the packaging, it included OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale, Stone Levitation Ale, the classic Stone IPA (San Diego is famous for its IPAs) and…Stone Runination IPA. That’s right — Stone Runination. A dreaded printing error not caught in time.
So what did the folks at Stone do? They had some fun with it. They ‘fessed up right away, highlighted that the beer is what it’s supposed to be (which is great, although the alcohol-by-volume level is up a bit, unrelated to the typo), and said that they wouldn’t kill any more trees so they’ll leave the error “out there.” They have even probably ensured that the boxes become collectors’ items.
This mistake was a lot easier to handle than corporate errors can be. Nobody died. Nobody got sick. Everybody got and gets what they paid for. It’s not a big deal. But this is still a great example of how a company should handle mistakes. The company’s response was quick, proportional, forthright, decisive and consistent with its branding. Best of all, it was right. Companies who have to deal with errors of various kinds — and they are inevitable — should take a lesson from Stone’s handling of this one. Well done.