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Germany So where do you think the German craftbeer scene is headed?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Snowcrash000, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    I already touched on this in some detail in my introductionary topic here:

    https://www.beeradvocate.com/community/threads/hello-from-cologne-germany.539854/#post-5669649

    I'm quite interested in what people from other parts of Germany think though. How well is the craftbeer scene doing where you live and where do you think it's going? Do you generally see a bright future for craft beer in Germany or are you more pessimistic about it?

    I think what's quite telling about the craft beer situation in Germany is how little of an online presence it's generating. There' not a single decent, active german craft beer forum that I can think of, for example. When it comes to news sites and similar portals, Hopfenhelden is the only major one that seems vaguely interesting, although I haven't looked into it *that* deeply. Youtube is pretty much devoid of german craft beer channels as well, with only a handful of exceptions.
     
  2. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (8,888) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I first visited Germany in 2013, spending about two weeks in Berlin. I was a little ahead of the movement they've got going on now but I was able to taste an Americanized beer from a brewery that was not in Berlin, but from the north, and it was pretty good - I was pleased if not impressed.

    I've just now returned from another two weeks in the south, mainly Bamberg but also München, and I was able to try quite a few different craft beers. Number one, I'll note that they cost more. Secondly, I'll note that when they were trying to replicate American styles they were not nearly as good as the originals. Even a rauchbier made outside of Bamberg was just so-so.

    Following on that, and your earlier post about the Kölsch, I'm a little confused as to why these beers aren't better. As an American brewer it seems easy to me to do research and put together a recipe to replicate a style of beer. Some are a little bit harder than others, getting the balance of dark malt in a schwarzbier can take some effort for example, but for the most part just smelling and tasting the beer is a guide towards the recipe.

    So what's going on? I don't know, but I'll pass on this story: I met a brewer outside of Brauerei Hölzein having a smoke with his friends. He was excited to learn that I was a brewers from the United States and asked me what I brewed. I told him 'everything', and he replied that he had one beer but then his friend reminded him that he now had two beers! For them that was exciting, but at the brewery I work at now, and all of the other breweries I've been at, doing only one or two beers would mean certain failure because the consumer demands variety. We want to have at least 6 beers available at all times, and we want to try new things - that, I think, is very American.

    I'll give a nod to German beer though, with great heartfelt adoration, that so many of the beers I tasted were impeccably balanced and rounded. That's something that's sometimes lost in American beers as we're always looking for "bigger and better" and not always so focused on the finer details.

    So, what is my opinion of what will happen with the German craft beer scene? I think it will continue to grow, slowly, and that the younger generation will gain interest and eventually demand that brewers produce a wider variety of beers. It's already happening, it just needs to spread.

    Another thing to note is locality. People, even in the U.S., have always liked to drink local beers, just like they like to support their local sports teams, and I think that's similar in Germany, and that's why you have Kölsch in Köln, and alt in Dusseldorf, and rauchbier in Bamberg, etc. and that's OK, but you can also support your local brewery if they start making something a little different. The difference between Germany and the U.S. is that Germany has history and it's a little hard to think that it could be lost whereas the U.S. has next to no history and thus it's never really mattered before. In fact, old was seen as bad, and new was seen as good because it was a break from England and a start for America. As the world becomes smaller via communication and travel though I think that will change.
     
    #2 NeroFiddled, Oct 8, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
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  3. NeroFiddled

    NeroFiddled Poo-Bah (8,888) Jul 8, 2002 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Another thing to add, just for the background of the discussion, is that Germany has never needed a beer revolution - the beers have always been good! But America needed a change in the late 70's because all of the beers were basically the same, and that lead to the homebrew revolution much like we saw in England, and then many of those homebrewers became professional brewers. If you don't have people who want to change things then you'll never have change; and in Germany it's hard to say that you want to change hundreds of years of tradition so it just hasn't happened - it hasn't been needed and it hasn't been pushed for. Maybe now that will change.
     
  4. BayernTrips

    BayernTrips Initiate (126) Feb 24, 2017 Germany

    Living in Munich, I do see craft beer trending up. In many ways, it's the younger generation leading the trend, but the Giesinger Brauerei has captured a more diverse following. For the most part, many are still most interested in balanced beer, but with a twist to keep it interesting. And, I don't see a lot of interest in the high gravity beers - likely because the drinking sessions here are longer. The Braukunst Live fair has seen steady growth and it's getting easier to find craft beer at the local supermarket, so obviously demand is growing. Other than Augustiner, the main Munich breweries are corporate affairs with international ownership and a large part of the interest in craft beer is likely that the consumer wants to support the small, local brewer...
     
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  5. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Meyvn (1,166) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Beer Trader

    Interesting thread. I have only lived in southern Germany for a couple of months, so my opinions and assessments are likely premature. I see two major camps here. On one side, you have the traditional German beer lovers. They have there favorite brewery like Americans have their favorite football team. The suggestion of something else is not taken lightly, and I doubt that's a nut that will be cracked. The other camp is, as one might expect, the slightly younger crowd. For example, those that travel to (or are from) Belgium, those that have traveling to the US and sampled the craft beer there. This camp still appreciates great German beer, but they want more. There are several bottle shops that are selling American craft beer and a bunch of Belgian styles. There are small breweries deviating from the norm, such as a local brewery in Freiburg brewing a Barrel-aged dark imperial saison. Places are selling De Molen, Omnipollo, De Struise, Cantillon, Westvleteren, Founders, Goose Island, etc. The audience will generally start to embrace these styles (the more that they are imported), and I can't imagine that German brewers won't start going for these styles themselves to stay competitive (for the camp 2 audience). Just my 2 cents.
     
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  6. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    I've heard that one before, and I disagree with it. We may not have had it as bad as the situation was in America, but depending on where you lived in Germany, I'd say it was damn close. When I grew up in Cologne, I basically had four styles of mass produced beer to choose from: Kölsch, Pilsner, Lager and Weizen. That was it, and let me tell you, there really isn't that much of a difference between an industrially brewed Kölsch, Pilsner or Lager in Germany. As far as I can tell, it's mostly the same for most of Northrhine-Westfalia and even the surrounding regions. Small, local breweries are also very rare in the whole area. I don't think it's a coincidence that three of the most famous German craft beer pioneers, Fritz Wülfing, Sebastian Sauer and Stefan Esser, all hail from Northrhine-Westphalia.

    When people think of German "Braukunst" and great German beer, most of that is home to southern Germany, specifically the Franconia region in and around Bavaria. You cannot look at that region and apply what has been and is going on there to the whole of Germany. That simply doesn't work because the reality of the situation can and does look quite different in other regions. So when people from Munich (or Berlin) tell me that craft beer is booming and has a bright future ahead of it, I cannot help but take that with a grain of salt. That's why I was hoping to hear from people from all over Germany and get a few different perspectives, but unfortunately there don't actually seem to be a lot of Germans on this forum...
     
  7. Peekaboolu

    Peekaboolu Initiate (128) May 24, 2016 California
    Beer Trader

    As someone who is from the US but has been living in Germany (Cologne) for only a bit more than a year, I think the biggest "issues" or things hindering craft beer in Germany are the prices and the brand loyalty some people have.

    When I tell interested people about craft beer the one thing that puts them off is the price of it. Here you can get a decent/good beer for around 1€ (or even some really great beer for 1,20-1,50€), so many people don't want to pay 3-5€ for a craft beer. To some extent I can understand it myself. I can buy beers from Schneiderweisse, Weihenstephan, Augustiner, Benediktiner, Andechs, etc... and all for around 1,20€. Unless you are really interested in different types of beers, then craft beer just isn't worth the price for most people I guess. However the craft beer shops that I know here in Cologne all seem to be doing well so there must be a market for it (albeit a small one).

    In terms of brand loyalty I think it's similar to the US. Some people will only drink beer from a certain brand because for them it's good and they enjoy it. There are just different types of beer drinkers, so natrually some will just stick to certain brands while others venture in to other brands and even craft beer.

    In general I think craft beer is doing quite well here in Cologne. There are places like Hellers and Braustelle, some dedicated craft beer stores and even some bars that focus on craft beer. I guess the craft beer "movement" just takes some time, and when Germany already has such a solid availability of good beer, it just takes a bit of time for craft beer to catch on.
     
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  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,018) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Hopefully Tony (@boddhitree) will join this discussion. He has a lot of experience and perspective on this topic.

    Cheers!
     
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  9. jonb5

    jonb5 Savant (972) May 11, 2010 United Kingdom (England)

    I think “Craft Beer” will be around for the foreseeable future in Germany. It has gained a foothold in the market, particularly amongst younger drinkers who will happily drink an American style IPA, but might not want a Kölsch or a Kellerbier.

    However, a lot of German Beer stores sell a few IPAs (as well as other craft offerings) but they often stay on the shelves for longer than they should. I think people could potentially be put off by picking up an old IPA. Price is also an issue, people don’t quite have as much disposable income as in the USA and can’t really shell out €3+ for a small bottle of beer on a regular basis.

    Not many parts of Germany have anything like the Franconian Beer culture, but it is easy to get a crate of good beer for between €10-16 almost anywhere.
     
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  10. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    It's certainly true that it's not that hard to hunt down craft beer in Cologne anymore, and I'm very grateful for that, but it was a very different story not two years ago. Of course Braustelle has always been around, they are an institution, but they don't really label themselves as being "craft beer" and neither are they really perceived as such. They're "just" a much beloved brewpub that predates the arrival of the craft beer revolution in Germany by a good 10 years. I still remember the first beer I had there all those years ago, it was a rosemary beer that totally blew me away. Hellers is just a microbrewery that does very good but standard traditional beers really.

    While craft beer is certainly readily available in Cologne these days, I'm really not sure how well it is actually doing. When I go to Bierlager or Hopfenrausch, I'm usually the only person in there, although I admittedly tend go early in the day. Craftbeer Corner Coeln isn't exactly packed most of the time either. Any particular reason you haven't mentioned CCC, by the way? I was actually having a brief chat with the owner of Hopfenrausch the other day and she said that they were having a really hard time filling up their tastings, especially for anything more complex than the most basic beginner tasting. They even had to drop their belgian beer tastings because they were just too exotic for most people, apparently.

    When I try to talk to random people at a Kneipe about craft beer, the most common reaction I get is "I only drink Kölsch". They are usually keen to change the subject after that. Of course you get the odd person that's quite interested, but it really is fairly rare. I think the whole Kölsch thing we have in Cologne is really polarizing. On the one hand you have the Kölsch fanatics who won't drink anything else and on the other hand you have people who are so sick of it by now that they have become quite passionate about more interesting beers.

    Are you still in Cologne, by the way? Would be quite the coincidence, might be interesting to meet up for a beer or two. Just drop me a PM if you're interested.
     
  11. Peekaboolu

    Peekaboolu Initiate (128) May 24, 2016 California
    Beer Trader

    Yeah that's true that Hellers is more of a micro brewery than a craft brewery, but their beers are definitely tasty. I've been to Bierlager and Hopfenrausch a few times and have found great beers at both places. Another craft beer place that I think has a great selection and friendly service is the Braukunstladen. I've never actually been to the Craftbeer Corner Coeln and just recently found out about it but it seems to be a great place.

    Yeah that's true with the Kölsch loyalty in Köln. Sometimes Kölsch is very refreshing and nice to have but it's always good to have some other options as well. Yep I'm still in Cologne, it could definitely be interesting to try to meet up.
     
  12. DJ-Hophead

    DJ-Hophead Meyvn (1,036) May 28, 2015 United Kingdom (England)

    Seems like Cologne has quite a few options. I was in Dusseldorf in Feb, whilst I was there for the altbier which was very good I couldn't find anything of note different on tap but did find a nice bottle shop with a few German craft brews. Speaking to a few locals in one of the Hausbrauerei that market seems to be a tough nut to crack. If you don't know what you are doing you could well be burned financially.
     
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  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Not sure why people see brand loyalty as a bad thing. That is about the only thing that differentiates truly successful "craft" brands here in the US from the near 6,000 other places cranking out their styles "with a unique twist!"
     
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  14. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Any "craft" brewer I know would kill for even a semblance of "brand loyalty." Why anyone would --with an eye on long-term growth -- advise a brewery to chase short-term trends, I have no idea.
     
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  15. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    Shelf life is definitely an issue, but what worries me even more are the cheaply produced "craft beers" that you see on the supermarket shelves more and more often. This includes both "craft beer" lines by major, industrial breweries like the Becks Ales and Flensburger Braukunst line and discounter beers like Maltos. I also saw a "craft beer box" containing 12 beers the other day that mostly contained terrible beers brewed with hop extracts amongst maybe 4 or 5 decent bottles. There was a Gaffel Kölsch in there for crying out loud. I mean, really, in a craft beer box? You gotta be kidding me... Since this is what most folks curious about craft beer most likely come in contact with if they don't know about any specialized craft beer dealers, it's bound to leave a rather bad impression.

    And yeah, don't get me started on the prices...
     
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  16. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    We should definitely meet up at CCC then, it's seriously the best place for craft beer in Cologne. It's a proper craft beer bar based on the american model with 15 international beers on tap that rotate constantly. I've had some really awesome brews there, great place really, apart from the prices and the service... Not to worry though, it's really not that bad.

    Thanks for mentioning the Braukunstladen, that's one place that actually managed to slip under my radar somehow. Will definitely check that out soon. Oh, by the way, the best place for buying craft beer in Cologne is actually not one of the specialzed dealers but Schneider's Getränkemarkt in Longerich. It's a huge Getränkemarkt with a bigger selection of craft beer than any of the small craft beer dealers have.
     
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,018) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    Please share with us your personal views on the prices of "craft beer" in Germany. Are you willing to pay more (e,g, 2-3 times more) for German "craft beer"? What are your thoughts on the 'typical' German beer consumer on the topic of price?

    Cheers!
     
  18. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    To directly address the OP's question: I see the Germans adopting and eventually embracing to some degree what is, in their eyes, the quintessence of "craft" beer -- I.e. a hoppy, fruity style like IPA and a roasty, coffeeish style like a stout -- and running with those for decades.

    Germans seem to do this with many things they culturally appropriate from the U.S. Boil it down to its essence and stick to that essence for what seems like an unnaturally long time. Where, say, the US "craft" scene has now moved on from your basic bitter, tropical IPAs to complete hop bombs to the milkshake juicy derivations, I would suspect Germans to stick with the (in US markets, somewhat passe) basic IPAs. Same with stouts. Where many here have moved through stouts that were the highest ABV possible to now the coveted barrel-aged (especially) peppery stouts, I suspect the Germans will stick to the "basic" coffeeish ones that have lost cachet here somewhat. Belgian-inspired styles like farmhouse ales, saisons, and sours -- the other "craft" styles US brewers tend to like to try their hands at -- Germans will likely get from Belgium directly (if they "get" them at all).

    Also, apropos beer prices in Germany...set to rise pretty much across the board in early 2018. http://www.bild.de/geld/mein-geld/brauereien/wollen-bierpreise-anheben-53462514.bild.html
     
    #18 herrburgess, Oct 9, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2017
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  19. FrankenBier

    FrankenBier Initiate (167) Feb 4, 2003 California

    Outside of countries that managed to keep a diverse brewing scene, most people seem to equate "craft beer" with "good beer" (Not necessarily saying that is true here, talking more generally). That brings up a problem when talking about countries like Germany, the UK, the Czech Republic . Is Spezial "craft beer" -- or for that matter is Fullers or Hostomice? And if they are not, then I'd like to see a definition of "Craft Beer" that didn't include brands like Sierra Nevada, Stone, Goose Island, Ballast Point, etc. etc. Or is "Craft Beer" just a shortcut for "Extreme Beer" -- whether that extremism is bitterness, sourness, alcohol or some unusual ingredient?

    Or what about Döllnitzer Ritterguts Gose? Most people probably wouldn't call Brauhaus Hartmansdorf a "Craft Brewery." It seems every other corner brewery in the US (that is a "craft brewery") makes a beer with the name "Gose" on it -- usually with some sort of fruit or vegetable added -- that only superficially resembles what one might drink in Leipzig. Yet they are "Craft" and Ritterguts is not? Doesn't seem right

    I do a fair amount of European beer traveling -- sort of my hobby (those this year was off because of some family issues). I understand that local brewers (everywhere) have to brew what their customers want. They can move the needle somewhat, but if their customers demand hoppy IPAs then they will brew a hoppy IPA. But I worry that there is growing homogenization of "Craft" (though I tend to use the terms "Modern" and "Traditional" when there are good examples of both to be found). There already is a McDonalds and Starbucks on every other corner, do we really need a pub selling "Hoppy American Style IPA" as well? Not just picking on IPAs, that just seems to be the most universal style.

    I would like to see an experiment where well make examples of "Craft Beer" from US, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Germany, etc. etc were blind tasted side by side. Unless one recognized a specific beer, I doubt many could tell the country of origin.

    I'm not meaning to rag on anybody or any brewery -- or on US beer drinkers/brewers. Part of this is my inner Mr Wilson coming out ("Hey you kids -- get off of my lawn!"). But I would really be sad if a future topic where was "Which brewery in Bamberg does the best IPA."

    Brewers like Andy Gänstaller -- and many others -- are in my mind taking the right approach: How can we take a traditional style and make it "Modern."
    It also makes me sad when I see postings of the sort "Hey, I am going to be in <insert city that good local beer> -- where can I find Cantillon?"

    Last May I spend a week in Prague -- my goal was to go the whole week without drinking an IPA/DIPA/IIPA, etc. I almost made it, except I was at Zubatý Pes and they had just tapped their 5th (?) Anniversary Beer -- and it was a Double IPA. It would have been rude not to have one :slight_smile:

    I'm off this week to Antwerp, followed by Düsseldorf (time for Sticke beer!) and then Bamberg. If anybody is around we can continue this discussion over a beer. And I will be drink some "Craft" beers in Germany... :slight_smile:

    Anyway, past my bedtime and I am getting cranky :slight_smile: Thanks for listening...
     
  20. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    There is actually an american-style craft beer bar in Düsseldorf now, but don't feel bad, that only opened this May.
     
  21. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    Well, when it comes to the whole Kölsch thing, that's not brand loyalty, it's more like herd mentality. I was the same way, growing up in Cologne. I drank Kölsch pretty much exclusively and was convinced that it was the best beer in the world. Why? Because I didn't know any better. It was the only beer I really had access to, apart from the very similar Pilsner and Lager beers we had. and also everyone else kept ragging on about how great it was. Then I went to live in London for a while and immersed myself in the pub culture, where I quickly developed a love for english ales and stouts. That forever changed my perspective on beer.
     
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  22. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    Well, craft beer is expensive in Germany, really expensive, actually. It's not "just" 2-3 times more expensive than normal beer, it really is more like 4-5 times more expensive. A 500ml bottle of normal beer will cost you an average of 1€ at the supermarket, while a 330ml bottle of craft beer will cost you an average of 3€ at the craft beer shop. So a litre (34oz) of normal beer costs an average of 2€ while a litre of craft beer costs an average of 9€. Those are pretty rough numbers, but you get the point.

    Now, I'm willing to pay that, but I'm also a craft beer fanatic and it even took me a while to get used to those prices. I'm not so sure about the "typical" german beer consumer, who is set in their ways and generally views craft beer with a degree of suspicion anyway. As others have said, the price of craft beer here in Germany is definitely one of its biggest hurdles to success.

    I think we also need to ask ourselves why it even is that expensive in the first place. Sure, craft beer will always be more expensive than normal beer due to the higher quality of ingredients used and the lower volumes that smaller breweries can produce, but does it really need to be 5 times more expensive than normal beer? Sometimes the inner cynic in me thinks that this is just an attempt to milk the early adopters that are left with little choice in the matter since supply is still kinda low. Once the suppliers realize that they cannot get by on the small crowd of craft beer fanatics in the long run, and that they are actively limiting the growth of craft beer with these prices, and as supply increases, I think we will see a drop in these prices. Well, at least I hope so, I'm not really a market expert.
     
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  23. boddhitree

    boddhitree Devotee (482) Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    mmmm... I guess most of the people in this thread other than Scott and Jack are relatively new here and didn't get to join in all the lively discussions from a few years ago here. If you really want to know what I or the others back then thought, go to the Bayernbiere Bought and Drunk thread. If you can't wade through what, 1,000 posts, sorry. I understand it's a lot to ask; nonetheless, I'm not sure I'm interested in rehashing all the same topics mentioned by posters above.

    For those who don't know, for I've been AWOL here for a good bit of time, I've been living in Germany since 2008, & lived here in the mid-80's and spent a year going to Uni and learning German. There have been lots of lots of changes beer-wise since the 70s, and it's almost all been bad and leading to the same direction America was in the 1970s. Germans are pretty late to every scene, whether it's fashion or beer, yet they always hop on a trend with gusto once it's gotten rolling almost everywhere else. Germany 2008 was in need of a rejuvenation in a way to get people to see people through the lens of quality instead of mass sameness and price as a criteria. Beer consumption among Germans has been decreasing steadily and inexorably in the last decades due to a variety of factors such as aging of the population, a shift towards healthier lifestyle and more variety of things to drink, such as wine for many or RedBull-vodka concoctions that Millennials prefer here. Beer also has a special place culturally that exists almost nowhere else but Germany, and with that goes 500+ years of tradition fighting against any change.

    Anyway... got run and I'll pick this up later.
     
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  24. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I have met many dudes throughout Bamberg and Franken who feel the same about their neighborhood/village brewery...or even their favorite style within that brewery. Old guys who only drink Spezial Rauchbier and not Schlenkerla. Guys who stick to Greifenklau Lager...or Mahrs U...or Keesmann Pils...and will tell you why their beer is the best.

    They have tried others, no doubt. But they have settled into their absolute favorite. Again, I ask what is the problem with that? There is a healthy competition between these folks and they will jokingly jab at their fellow Bamberg citizens about their favorites.

    All in all, I find it a net positive thing and would love to have such people supporting me and my beers with such dedication and loyalty. And then I, too, could have a bit of fun with my fellow brewers here in town about our customers and their excellent choice in our respective beers being the best. :wink:
     
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  25. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Initiate (182) Oct 4, 2017 Germany
    Beer Trader

    Well, I never actually said that there was a problem with brand loyalty, I was only commenting on this weird beer style patriotism we have in Cologne.
     
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  26. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    I guess I would just challenge people to see brand loyalty as a good thing. Here in the US it is sometimes seen as yet another macro beer bogeyman: our parents and grandparents only drank (Schlitz/ Bud/Miller) so we have to always drink a variety.... This is bad in many many ways for "craft" brewers as people buy a beer once and then move on to the next shiny new thing. Every one of the brewers on my city have seen this. Some have banked investments and expansions on the quick upticks they see when they enter ne markets and are very disappointed when the repeat sales don't materialize. My operation has guarded closely against such "optimism." As a result we are starting to see a degree of hyper-local brand loyalty.
     
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,018) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Supporter

    It is true that US craft beer consumers do enjoy drinking a variety of beers. A brewery is capable of serving these customers by brewing a large variety (portfolio) of different beers. An example I would offer up here is a local (to me) brewery of Tired Hands. When you visit their two breweries the only beers that you are assured will be on tap are HopHands and SaisonHands. All of their dozen (or so) beers on tap at both locations will be one-off or rotating beers. Tired Hands is over five years old and there has been no decline in enthusiasm (and sales) among their customer base.

    Perhaps Jim (@NeroFiddled) can provide some insight on how the brewery where he works decides on which beers to brew.

    Cheers!

    P.S. You can see a partial list of the beers Tired Hands brews here: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/28383/
     
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  28. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Every brewer I talk to is streamlining their portfolio. If Tired Hands is expanding theirs, good for them.
     
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    This is an absurd generalization. It ignores a ton of factors and challenges that every brewery faces regarding things like maintaining house yeast strains, being restricted by minimum batch size, optimizing cooler space, keeping records and potential TTB registrations current, etc.
     
  30. bushycook

    bushycook Aspirant (235) Jan 31, 2011 Virginia
    Beer Trader

    Where? Where? :wink:
     
  31. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,229) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    As an outsider who was specifically paying attention to any and all things "craft" in Germany, it has a pretty mainstream presence in Munich and Bamberg. It's still VERY much dwarfed by the traditional breweries, but it's no longer just those 2-3 Dolden Sud bottles collecting dust in the Biomarkt.
    In Bamberg you have the Bierothek located about 50 yards from Faessla and Spezial. It was crowded on the days I was there, too. Not a ton of people buying cases of the stuff, but they were doing tastings and people were shopping. The Kronprinz was also doing pretty strong business on a Friday night, and it feels like a brewery more at home in LA than Bamberg.
    In Munich I saw Crew Republic and Giesinger bottles at most convenience stores. Geisinger was full-on busy when we visited. There was a "craft" and import section in both of the grocery stores I went into. Those weren't there a few years ago. Biomarkts seem to have about a dozen craft beers now, too. It's now Lammsbraeu and a bunch of IPA's. There's also a big push from the local brands to have new varieties...even if those "new" varieties are keller/zwickl beers. In spite of the beers being pretty bad (in my opinion), people were drinking quite a bit of Camba's stuff at Tap-House.

    No clue what any of this means over the long term, but it feels like there is definitely a movement that is beyond underground at this point. Those things are hard to miss.
     
  32. FrankenBier

    FrankenBier Initiate (167) Feb 4, 2003 California

    It is more the latter than the former -- there are huge economies of scale with brewing. Part of that is expensive capital stock that in a small(er) brewery might be used a few times a week (or less often) while at a large "Beer Factory" will be running 24/6 (plus a day for cleaning/maintenance).

    Twenty years ago when I owned a home brewing shop I had a good "in" with somebody who had access to the AB "Factory" in Van Nuys. In fact, I used to trade him hops from AB hop locker in return for specialty grains (and they were very good hops, BTW) At the time the whole brewhouse was run with 3 guys in the control room plus a "hop runner" whose job was to bring the whole hops from the locker to the kettle. I'm sure they could have automated the hop runner if they had used pellets or extracts but (at that time) there was a corporate decision to use whole hops. They did 1200 BBL brews, 5 brews in a shift into one fermenter. They basically ran in parallel, one batch each in the mash tun, lauter tun, kettle and whirlpool. Really an assembly line, hence the word "factory."

    He once showed me a slide from a presentation that he wasn't supposed to have, breaking down the costs of a typical "serving" bought by a customer. The cost of ingredients was minor. The cost of operations was more but the overwhelming portion of the costs when to marketing and distribution (which includes the costs and profits of everybody who touches the beer once it leaves the brewery: distributors and retailers, etc.). What this means is they could double the cost of the ingredients, vastly reduce advertising and make lots of money. Sort of sounds what would happen if the bought up brands of "craft breweries."

    Take Golden Roads, the LA brewery bought by AB a few years ago (when you are over the hill, you pick up speed and time flies). If you buy it in the LA area it still probably was made at the original brewery -- they want to be able to say it is local. But if you see it elsewhere it was likely brewed in the AB factory in Fairfield (Northern California). Not by accident is it not brewed in Van Nuys (LA AB factory).

    Anyway, running on too long. Got an early flight in the morning and an appointment in Antwerp on Wednesday :slight_smile:
     
    herrburgess likes this.
  33. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,561) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    I was there a few years ago and really enjoyed what they were doing at Braustelle in Cologne. What really blew me away was one of the "experimental" brews that they were doing at Weyermann. I was able to try it on-tap at Cafe Abseits and it was awesome (went back multiple times just to drink that beer). All that said, I've been revisiting the traditional styles and while I don't see that going away, I hope the rise of craft doesn't do to the beer scene in Germany what it's been doing in America - increase in breweries (many pretty mediocre), higher price points bordering on the unreasonable, fanboy hijinks, etc.
     
    herrburgess likes this.
  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,281) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Subscriber

    A number of AB TTB Label Approvals for Golden Road beers list both Fairfield and Van Nuys, along with GR's facility, as breweries. This snip from their session IPA Wolf Pup COLA (#16251001000540).
    [​IMG]

    As noted, one would have to check the coding on the cans to determine the actual brewing site. AB's coding for their breweries is rather easy to remember (until you get to the CO and GA breweries)
    [​IMG]
    Not sure what the coding is like for the beers coming from the actual purchased breweries.

    Pretty sure that, similarly, Chicago gets some Goose Island beers and Long Island get some Blue Point beers brewed at AB plants, etc.
     
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  35. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Which Weyermann beer? Every one I tried from their brewery was pretty dreadful. I liked the Suessholz (licorice) Porter well enough I suppose.
     
  36. Jwale73

    Jwale73 Poo-Bah (3,561) Aug 15, 2007 Rhode Island
    Beer Trader

    It was called Adam's Imperial Pils. I believe it was made or inspired by a beer form an Australian Brewer who was working at Weyermann at the time if I recall what Herr Schoolmann at Cafe Abseits said.
     
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  37. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,229) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I've always heard very negative things about the Weyermann pilot beers. I still haven't had any. What's the situation there exactly?
     
  38. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (1,966) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Supporter Subscriber

    I took the tour of the brewery back in the spring (I don't remember its cost), and it was a typical walk-through with a guide who spoke good broken English. The first part of the tour was kind of lame with passing around a bunch of old photos depicting the history of the brewery. At the end of the tour we were given 4 samples that were poured from bottles by the tour guide in a lounge-like area at one end of the store. Looking at my notes, we had the Lager (a Helles?), the Wheat Beer (I think both of these beers had a single-digit number on the label for its name, but I didn't make a note of it and can't find my pics that I would have taken of each label), the Shotflerga (a dark beer, and my name of the beer might be off a little because I can't read my own writing), and a Pumpernickel Porter. I liked the lager a lot, but the others were given average scores.
     
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  39. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,029) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    Rauchbier was soured. Schlotfegerla was thin and overattenuated. The Wheatwine was fusel-y. Just real amateur stuff, it seemed. Was surprised and disappointed.
     
    Domingo likes this.
  40. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,229) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I guess being the world's premier maltster has no bearing on your brewing ability. It probably has zero impact on their business, so they might just not care. Disappointing either way.

    I've still been pretty disappointed with the majority of German breweries making American'ish craft styles to begin with. There's just something that isn't translating. I guess it makes places like Giesinger really stand out. A friend of mine (who was the HB at pretty big/well-known place in CO) confirmed that they're one of the only places truly doing a great job at "craft" styles in the south of the country.
     
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