We are shocked and deeply saddened to report that this past Saturday, Aug. 24, Matthew Courtright, a brewer at Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, CA, passed away.
According to UT San Diego and West Coaster SD, Matt, 27, was operating a forklift at the brewery when it overturned and pinned him Saturday afternoon. Matt was taken to Palomar Medical Center, but the injuries he had suffered from the forklift were severe. He passed around 5 p.m.
Stone Brewing Co. released the following statement today:
It is with a very heavy heart that we communicate a tragedy involving one of our valued friends and Team Stone colleagues. We are deeply saddened that one of our own passed away from complications resulting from a forklift accident at our Escondido brewery on Saturday, August 24. Our deepest condolences go out to the team member’s family. Out of respect for the team member’s loved ones, we are not releasing the individual’s name at this time.
We have launched an investigation and are working with authorities to determine the cause of the accident. In the interim, we have closed down brewing operations as well as tours of the brewery today (Sunday, August 25) and anticipate resuming all operations tomorrow (Monday, August 26).
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Escondido will remain open as will Stone Company Store – Escondido. People expecting to take a tour of the brewery today will be offered a guided beer tasting at the bar located inside Stone Company Store.
We will refrain from commenting further until additional details and information is acquired and the investigation into this incident is complete. Thank you for the outpouring of support we have already received. Our sympathy is with the family and everyone affected by this tragedy.
While it’s always sad to lose someone from the craft beer community, especially someone so young, this loss hits home for several of us at Bitch Beer. We met Matt last year during the Great American Beer Festival at FreshCraft for Stone’s tapping of Enjoy By 11.09.12.
Matt had brewed this particular batch of Enjoy By, so he proudly ordered us a pint. It was our first taste of the IPA, and it was a delicious, roundhouse kick of hops. We met up with him every day during the rest of the festival and enjoyed each time we got to share a beer together. He was such a lively, happy person, who was dedicated to the craft beer community and expressed a great support for our mission at Bitch Beer, and we’ve all stayed in contact since last October.
Besides a passionate craft beer advocate, Matt was a son, brother, uncle, friend, baseball fan, homebrewer, baseball player in college, and had a huge heart. Earlier this spring, he spent 10 days in Africa constructing buildings with GoDesign.
Matt and his family will be in our hearts and our thoughts, and we encourage everyone to have a good beer today in honor of Matt.