Demand for U.S. craft beer is growing overseas, and exports keep increasing to meet that demand. So, why keep making that sweet U.S. craft nectar here to send over there, when you can just start making it over there, too? Makes perfect sense to Urban Chestnut Brewing, a craft brewery based in St. Louis, which acquired a small German brewery earlier this year in order to expand its operations into Europe.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. (UCBC) is an unconventional-minded yet tradition-oriented brewer of craft beer. Founded in early 2011 by Florian Kuplent, a German born and trained brewmaster with extensive experience at both small breweries and with the world’s largest, Anheuser-Busch, and David Wolfe, a 20-year brewing industry member, who was also with Anheuser-Busch, Urban Chestnut operates two breweries in St. Louis.
The European expansion is a bold move for a brewery making bold beers. You see, Kuplent is from Bavaria, and the acquired brewery in question, Bürgerbräu Wolnzach, is situated in a small town that is also the world’s largest hops producing region, the Hallertau. From here on out, the former Bürgerbräu Wolnzach will now be the home of Urban Chestnut’s Hallertauer Brauerei.
“It’s incredibly exciting to have assembled a staff, and almost unbelievable to have brewed Urban Chestnut beer in Bavaria,” Kuplent said. “It’s very fulfilling to see a lifelong dream become reality!”
Since this past winter’s acquisition, Urban Chestnut has been busy setting up its Hallertauer operation. A head brewer and a sales manager have both been locally hired to assist in the operations of their Hallertauer Brauerei. And just two weeks ago, UCBC’s first batches of beer were brewed in Germany.
Urban Chestnut will initially brew three beers at their Hallertauer Brauerei: Zwickel — Urban Chestnut’s Flagship Bavarian Lager, its top U.S. seller, Zuagroast — a new Pale Ale brewed with Bavarian malt and hops, and Hopfenperle — a new, hop-forward, Helles Lager that is based on a recipe from another old Bavarian brewery, Alterbräu Wolnzach. UCBC’s German-brewed beers will all fall under a new, third series of Urban Chestnut’s beers; Hallertauer Serie, which joins UCBC’s Revolution Series and UCBC’s Reverence Series.
“The Hallertauer Serie beers exemplify the philosophy of the Urban Chestnut Hallertauer Brauerei,” Kuplent said. “While we purposefully utilize high-quality, terroir-specific ingredients from Bavaria to honor the beer tradition of Hallertau, we also incorporate some modern-American brewing ideals.”
Urban Chestnut, which has been exporting small quantities of their St. Louis-made beers to Germany since 2013, will continue this practice, and now, conversely, UCBC will also be importing its Bavarian-brewed beers into the United States.
“Our Hallertauer Brauerei will obviously enhance UCBC’s efforts to expand our distribution in Germany and into other parts of Europe, via the production of locally brewed beer. Additionally, it will provide us with a central point of importation for our St. Louis-brewed Revolution & Reverence Series of beers,” said fellow Co-Founder David Wolfe. “But what’s perhaps even more exciting, is the exportation of our Hallertauer Series into the U.S. Overall, on the marketing side, there are going to be a lot of unique and exciting things we can do as an American-German/German-American importing-exporting craft brewer.”
In June, the Urban Chestnut Hallertauer Brauerei will begin distributing beer locally in Bavaria and to other areas of Germany, as well continuing the local tradition of selling bottles, on-site, to visiting customers.
“We’ve already pre-sold our first few batches of our Hallertauer Brauerei beer, which in essence is helping us to expand Urban Chestnut’s presence across the overall German brewing scene. On a personal level though, I’m most excited about the opportunity for local, Bavarian beer enthusiasts to enjoy Urban Chestnut beer,” Kuplent said.