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Business & Merchant

Rebranding of Company Celebrates Rich Local History

By Julie Kooser

An old, malt favorite with a rich history in the area is being rebranded after the original family's recent purchase of the Jones Brewing Company in Latrobe, PA.

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A glass of Stoney's Light Beer.

The official launch party for Stoney's Beer, hosted by President Jon King and CEO John J. LaCarte, was held at Headliners Lounge in The Meadows Racetrack and Casino on Aug. 17. In attendance were potential distributors, friends and family of King and LaCarte, and a Rolling Stones cover band.

According to LaCarte, the history of his and King's families are deeply intertwined with that of the brewery. Jones Brewing Company was originally called the Eureka Brewing Company at its inception in 1881, selling “Eureka Gold Crown” beer to the miners that lived in the Sutersville, PA.

In 1907, William Benjamin “Stoney” Jones, King's great- grandfather, allegedly won the deed to the brewery in a friendly poker game. Stoney Jones, that same year, moved the brewery to Smithton, PA, where he met local livery owner and LaCarte's grandfather, Joseph Ferrando. Ferrando partnered with Stoney Jones, hauling the beer with his horses and wagons.

It wasn't long until alcohol prohibition was enacted in the United Stated and Stoney Jones took his business “underground.” Only two years later in 1922, Stoney's Son, William Benjamin Jones II was arrested for hauling for the brewery. The crime cost him a $3,000 bail, which, according to the Dollar Times Inflation Calculator, would have been the equivalent to almost $42,000 today.

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CEO of Jones Brewing Company, John J. LaCarte, speaks on the rich history of the brewery and on Stoney's Beer.

At the end of Prohibition in 1933, Stoney changed the name of the brewery to Jones Brewing Company. During the 1930s, the two families became even closer. LaCarte's great uncle, at the age of 15, went to work for Jones Brewing Company to support his family and LaCarte's grandmother allegedly, during this time, babysat famous actress and Stoney's granddaughter, Shirley Jones.

The brewery was passed through the Jones family until 1988, when it was bought by Gabby and Sandy Podlucky. In 2002, the Podlucky's moved the brewery to Latrobe, PA, but kept the Jones family brewing traditions. The brewery eventually made its way back to the Jones family on March 31 of this year. King, great grandson of Stoney Jones, in partnership with LaCarte, bought back the brewery and the trademarks to make and sell the beer brands.

According to LaCarte, Stoney Jones was a diabetic, so Stoney's Beer still contains no additives, preservatives, or added sugars. Long time Brew Master, Greg King, emphasized the purity of the Stoney's Beer. “It's made with only four ingredients: malt, hops, water, and yeast,” he said.

And while this is “the beer your grandfather drank,” according to LaCarte, the brewery also aims to attract a new wave of consumers, the millenials, with the new marketing slogan “Get Some Stones.”

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