Escondido-based Stone Brewing Co. plans to invest $74 million in a new East Coast brewing facility planned for Richmond, Va.

Company officials said Stone Brewing has signed a formal letter of intent to construct a production brewery, packaging hall and a Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens restaurant in that city. Pending government approvals, the brewery would be operational in late 2015 or early 2016, with the restaurant opening a year or two after that.

Stone plans to employ more than 288 people in its Virginia operations.

Stone officials announced earlier this year that the company was scouting Eastern U.S. sites for a new regional American production facility. In July, the fast-growing craft brewer unveiled plans to invest $25 million in new brewing and restaurant operations planned in Berlin, Germany.

Stone Brewing President and co-founder Steve Wagner said the company received proposals for hundreds of sites east of the Mississippi River and visited more than than 40 locations before making its decision.

“A facility on the East Coast will allow us to meet demand for our beer, ensure we are providing our fans with the freshest beer possible, and also serve as a distribution hub for states located east of the Mississippi,” said Greg Koch, Stone’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

Stone anticipates building a 200,000-square-foot production brewery and distribution facility on 14 acres of land in Virginia. The brewery will include a 250-barrel brewhouse and produce year-round and special-release beers.

The company also plans to renovate a two-story, 30,000-square-foot building for the new restaurant, which will span four acres and include landscaped gardens.

Stone Brewing Co. currently employs more than 700 in San Diego County and had revenue of $135 million in 2013, as it brewed 213,000 barrels. It is the largest of more than 80 locally based craft beer brewers and the 10th largest in the U.S. based on 2013 production volume.