LaCarte, King team up to bring Stoney’s beer back to family roots

Two Mon Valley businessmen are helping Stoney’s Beer return to its Smithton family roots.

In a press release issued Wednesday by Stoney’s, the company announced that Jon King, great-grandson of William Benjamin “Stoney” Jones, in partnership with John LaCarte, president of LaCarte Enterprises based in Charleroi, have formed Stoney’s Brewing Co. They have acquired the trademarks and licenses to brew and sell Stoney’s Premium and Stoney’s Light Beer from Jones Brewing Co.

From 1988 to this year, Gabby and Sandy Podlucky owned Jones Brewing.

The acquisition became effective March 31. A new website was to launch Thursday.

According to the press release, the LaCarte and King/Jones family histories have long been intertwined in Smithton.

When King mentioned to LaCarte that he was interested in buying back the brewery, LaCarte jumped at the opportunity.

“This is more than a business. Stoney’s has always been an important part of both our families. The connection with both our families goes back four generations,” said LaCarte, who is chief executive officer of the brewing company.

LaCarte is also president of LaCarte Enterprises Inc. and LaCarte Development Co., having built a successful group of companies, including Model Cleaners, the region’s largest family-owned dry cleaning operation. It also operates a similar-sized dry cleaning business in Northeastern Ohio., as well as a uniform rental division and a Model Apparel division. King, who is president of the Stoney’s, grew up as part of the Stoney’s business, spending summers during high school and college working different jobs around the brewery.

After a 30-year career in finance, he decided to act on a dream he’d had since 1988, resurrecting Jones Brewing with Jones family members at the helm.

John LaCarte’s great-grandfather, Joseph Ferrando, hauled kegs of beer for “Stoney” Jones, using horses and wagons from his livery business. LaCarte’s great uncle went to work at Jones Brewery in the 1930s to support the family after his father’s death and LaCarte’s grandmother, Emma, baby-sat actress Shirley Jones when she was a child growing up in Smithton.

The families intertwined again through a banking relationship between King and LaCarte, which led to a conversation over lunch about partnering to buy Jones Brewing.

The new Stoney Brewing ownership group also brings King’s brother, Greg King, as brewmaster, a role he had held under the previous owners.

Stoney’s is brewed at CHC Latrobe, previously The Latrobe Brewing Co., which the new owners said allows the brand to stay true to its roots and history of local brewing.