Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest collaboration – Bitburger

Discussion in 'Germany' started by JackHorzempa, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,004) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It appears that this year Sierra Nevada is collaborating with Bitburger to brew their Oktoberfest beer.

    Is Bitburger considered to be Fernsehenbier?

    Cheers!
     
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  2. Redrover

    Redrover Poo-Bah (3,340) Jan 18, 2003 Illinois
    Society

    I like the Bitburger portfolio of beers, so will give this a try. But it seems like a strange collaboration choice.
     
  3. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,711) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    OK, was ist Fernsehenbier? Ah haa ha, nevermind.... TV beer.
     
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,004) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    So Jim, what are your thoughts here since you have been to Germany a number of times? Are the beers produced by the Bitburger Braugruppe considered "TV beer"? Is this the sort of brewery(s) that you figured Sierra Nevada would collaborate with to produce their Oktoberfest beer?

    Cheers!
     
  5. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    Bitburger is definitely Fernsehbier. Quite a... surprising collaboration to me as well...
     
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  6. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,004) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Thank you very much for answering my question.

    I am fortunate that you are willing to participate in the Germany forum.

    Prost to you sir!!
     
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  7. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (10,711) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, I'm not familiar with the Bitburger Braugruppe beers but I can attest to the fact that not all German beers are of the best quality; they have plenty of lower tier priced beers. I've been calling them bahnhof beers but fernsehbier makes just as much sense.

    As to why Sierra Nevada would collaborate with them I'm not sure. Perhaps it has to do with wider distribution in Germany and Europe?
     
    #7 NeroFiddled, Mar 23, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
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  8. spartan1979

    spartan1979 Aspirant (280) Dec 29, 2005 Missouri

    Or perhaps it has to do with better name recognition in the US. Not many many in the U.S. are familiar with names like Mahrs or Riegele.
     
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,004) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Now that makes sense. Partnering with a more popular German brewer (i.e., broader name recognition) potentially could increase beer sales?

    Cheers!
     
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,765) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society

    Last figures I saw (2017) had the Bitburger Group the third largest brewing company in Germany:

    # 1 The Radeberger Group (Radeberger, Jever, DAB, Berliner Pilsener)
    10.8 million hectoliters
    # 2 Anheuser-Busch InBev (Becks, Diebels, Hasseröder, Franziskaner and Löwenbräu and others)
    6.6 million hectoliters
    # 3 The Bitburger Brewery Group (also Köstritzer, Licher and Wernesgrüner) -
    6.3 million hectoliters

    (Total for entire country - 85 million hectoliters of beer in 2017.
    If one adds the production of non-alcoholic beers, the total sales volume is 101 million hectoliters.)
     
    #10 jesskidden, Mar 24, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
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  11. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    What's even weirder about this to me is that's it's an Oktoberfest collaboration and Bitburger aren't exactly known for their Hefeweizen/Weissbier, I don't even think they make one at all, their most prominent brand in Germany is their Pilsner. This is kinda like collaborating with Coors for an IPA...
     
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  12. wspscott

    wspscott Champion (883) May 25, 2006 Kentucky

    I'm confused, what does a hefeweizen have to do with an Octoberfest beer?
    I'm puzzled by the Bitburger collaboration, but hefeweizen has nothing to do with my confusion :slight_smile:
     
  13. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    Well, they don't brew a Märzen, Vienna Lager or Helles either, their main brand is still a Pilsner, which certainly doesn't have anything to do with an Oktoberfest beer either.
     
    #13 Snowcrash000, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  14. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (280) Nov 3, 2005 California

    This would be a bizarre move. Bitburger is a pure pilsner brewery, has limited connections to any hefeweizen brewer (my go to brand Licher added hefeweizen years ago, but it's simply a crutch for their contract-tied gastronomy), and having anything to do with Oktoberfest would be almost unheard of within Germany. The only reason would be non-Euro distro channels, even then it's a "jump the shark" moment.
     
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  15. Shanex

    Shanex Meyvn (1,297) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Moderator Society Trader

    @JackHorzempa Since this is pretty “big” news, may I suggest you start a similar thread in the Beer News & Release forum?

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/forums/beer-news-releases.37/

    This need visibility.

    If you also can provide a link and source to it, our BA community will appreciate. Thanks.
     
  16. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    @JackHorzempa how did you hear about this anyway? I cannot seem to find any kind of official news release on this.
     
    Shanex likes this.
  17. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Big long thread here with the question answered by SierraTerence toward the last pages.
    As was said in the thread linked above, maybe SN is going to show Bitburger how to make an Oktoberfest. :wink:

    Here's a direct link to the "announcement."
     
    #17 steveh, Mar 25, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  18. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Where did I miss some connection to a Hefeweizen? The collab is for an Oktoberfest, as far as I know.
     
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  19. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,477) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Trader

    I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that one of Sierra Nevada's biggest recent collaboration brews with a Bavarian brewer was a Hefeweizen and also that Hefeweizen, or Weissbier, is probably the style that is most commonly associated with Bavaria.

    You are right of course though, when you say that a Hefeweizen isn't really an Oktoberfest beer.
     
  20. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Maybe over there... :wink:
     
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  21. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (280) Nov 3, 2005 California

    You're right @steveh a bit of an extrapolation from me, referencing 2 true Bavarian styles in same post. Short of it is that Bitburger has no connection to anything Bavarian at all.

    That being said, I don't doubt that the beer can still be a good beer, but from a marketing standpoint it's a reach.
     
    steveh likes this.
  22. FrankenBier

    FrankenBier Initiate (175) Feb 4, 2003 California

    Didn't Sierra Nevada do an Oktoberfest with Mahrs a couple years back? Not that Mahrs had any particular expertise with the style.

    Most American consumers won't care that Bitburger isn't Bavarian, just that it is German. I remember the Becks Oktoberfest flying off the shelves back in the day...
     
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  23. grantcty

    grantcty Initiate (119) Feb 17, 2008 Minnesota

    That's correct. Besides Weihenstephan and Mahrs, they also did collaborations with Brauhaus Riegele and Brauhaus Miltenberger (Faust) for Oktoberfestbiers.
     
  24. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    From one of my responses in the first thread on the subject:
    However, as was also pointed out there, Köstritzer has made a Wiesn style Okto in the past (still do?) that was outstanding... and they aren't Bavarian either.
     
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  25. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,591) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Society

    Seems really odd, but I don't think most Americans really know or care. Around Oktoberfest my local Old Chicago puts 10-15 German beers on tap and only 2 (Ayinger and Weihenstephaner) are Bavarian. The rest are Beck's, Warsteiner, St. Pauli Girl, etc. Some years they even put Reissdorf on.
     
  26. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Beck's pretty much proves that out, but that don't make it right!
    Wait -- St. Pauli makes an Okto? Yike.

    Or, do you mean they just add a bunch of German beers to their taps for "Oktoberfest?" I've definitely seen that before... and it still don't make it right. :wink:
     
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,004) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Or maybe it is a marketing 'benefit'?

    As I asked in post #9:

    "Partnering with a more popular German brewer (i.e., broader name recognition) potentially could increase beer sales?"

    Cheers!
     
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  28. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,591) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Society

    They just serve the normal St. Pauli pils. Ditto with Warsteiner (they serve the dunkel) and some of the others. They just choose something German. Beck's and Ayinger are the only ones that are supposed to be an Oktoberfest.

    I do think St. Pauli Girl might have had an Oktoberfest at one point, but I haven't seen anything but the pils and N/A in forever. I remember doing taste comparisons with S.P. and Beck's back when both were freely available in Las Vegas. Both their pils and darks were VERY similar. So much so that they could probably re-label one or the other.
     
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  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Back in the mid 70s to early 80s I can remember drinking both beers because they were about the only German imports I could find at the time (and because I had an "in" with the local distro of Beck's) and thinking they were pretty identical.

    IIRC both of their "Light" versions were actually considered Dortmunders at the time, but that could have been my misinterpretation -- although I remember them having that "mineral" quality equated with Dortmund beers.
     
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  30. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (280) Nov 3, 2005 California

    Probably right. For me an absolute faux pas, borders on super cringe. But that's me.
     
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  31. Mark-Leggett

    Mark-Leggett Champion (826) Jul 30, 2014 Missouri
    Society

    I look forward to this every year. Always a good beer.
     
  32. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,591) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Society

    I agree with you. In the world of beer I think I've just grown used to rolling my eyes and biting my tongue. From the term "IPA" (in general) to geographical subsets, to adjunct beers being mistaken for their bases. Those are just our beers, too. We're horrible with geographical and historical precedent.
    I'm happy that Old Chicago has Beck's Oktoberfest instead of Heineken and Bavaria from Holland :stuck_out_tongue:
     
    steveh likes this.
  33. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's all about -- what? Understanding that the world is bigger than the block you live on?

    On my first trip to Germany I found myself the only one not hungover on the first full day in Munich. My friends slept in, I headed down the street to the Marienplatz and into the heart of Munich -- I was enthralled with my first time visiting the other side of the world and taking in such a new and different culture. Ever since I've been excited to embrace worlds that open my eyes to anything enlightening.

    Go, see, learn, ingest. Your neighborhood is great, the world is greater.
     
  34. KS_Augsburg

    KS_Augsburg Initiate (171) Jul 29, 2018 Illinois
    Society Trader

    A collaboration with Bit for me is a huge surprise, and not in a good way. Lots of reasons, most were already mentioned - being German I can agree with most of them. Bit (short for Bittburger) in my opinion is one of the least interesting beers you can drink in Germany, along the likes of Warsteiner, and other mega-brands. Consistent (and to a degree, that is a good thing), but not exciting at all.
    For SN, it must be name-recognition.
     
  35. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (45) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    I suppose at this point Sierra Nevada needs hardly any advice from an outside brewery, and now they can afford to just work with anybody. Still, it would have been a very impressive coup to get a partnership with one of the Munich Six...still, the dream pairing for me would be Sierra and Ayinger!
     
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  36. einhorn

    einhorn Aspirant (280) Nov 3, 2005 California

    @EmperorBatman SN and Ayinger did a collaboration a while back in their Beer Camp collection, I believe it was a Dunkelweizen. Personally I did not try it, but there it is. And, I agree that an Oktoberfest with Ayinger would still be a pretty good idea. I'm guessing some of the larger brewers probably would run into distribution issues if paired with a large brewer out of Munich (just a guess on my part). On that note, no reason they shouldn't pair with Löwenbräu!
     
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  37. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (749) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Since when do collab breweries have to share the same style or portfolio? Isn't the point of a collaboration to learn and try new things that are a result of a combined effort between both breweries?

    The worst collabs (to me) are generally the ones that do the exact same things. You don’t get much innovation that way. They seem completely pointless.


    I can understand Bit may be a bit “macro” and generic compared to other breweries in Germany, but I’m not doubting the end result will be delicious as always.
     
  38. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Since Löwenbräu is owned by Spaten these days, and Spaten is owned by AB-InBev, I wonder if the roadblocks are bigger for a collab with an independent like SN?
     
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  39. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,203) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    I always looked at them as a way to make something good even better. Two experienced teams putting their heads together, not necessarily to "experiment."
     
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  40. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (749) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    Yes, but in my experience, that is quite rare. It almost always ends up tasting like the "primary" brewery in some way. There are some exceptions, but more often it just tastes like brewery "B" was present and threw some hops in the boil and that was it. Perhaps they talked about the most juuuuuiciest hops to use or what adjuncts they can jam into the kettle, but the end result should be this beautiful masterpiece of two breweries coming together and it’s hardly the outcome. Breweries are just too collab happy, though, so it usually means nothing except a way to market and sell a beer more quickly.

    I agree though, it would be awesome if more breweries took collabs more seriously and really spent time on something truly special, not just yet another beer on tap that tastes like the rest.

    I far prefer the collabs that bring two breweries together that don't do specialize the same stuff. You have a bigger 'box of tools' in terms of experience, processes and techniques to utilize. A collab like Notch from Salem mixed with Rare Barrel for example, would really excite me. Or Allagash with Prairie. New Glarus with Treehouse. More ying and yang type stuff.

    Just me though!
     
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