William K Busch Brewing launching all-malt Kräftig lager and Kräftig light brands
November 4, 2011
– For the first time in two years, beer lovers in the historic brewing city of St. Louis will soon be able to lift a cold bottle of lager beer brought to market by a member of the fabled family of brewing legend Adolphus Busch.
“There’s a new brewing company in St. Louis,” said company founder William K. Busch. “And our brands – all-malt Kräftig lager and Kräftig light – will be available next week in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants and taverns across the St. Louis metropolitan area.”
The new enterprise – the William K Busch Brewing Company – was established last summer by William K. Busch, son of the late August A. “Gussie” Busch, Jr., and great-grandson of St. Louis brewing legend Adolphus Busch. It is an independent company and has no connection or association in any way with Anheuser-Busch InBev or any of its affiliates.
“Adolphus Busch came to St. Louis in 1857 and started a 150-year tradition of brewing the best beer in America,” Busch said. “We’re starting small, like he did, but our ambitions are as big as his were then. Our goal is first to brew the finest beers in America for St. Louis beer lovers – people who know fine beers – and then to expand regionally and nationally.”
Busch said the idea of starting a new chapter of his family history came to him two years ago when he realized that for the first time in a century and a half, no member of his family was involved in the business of brewing beer in his home city of St. Louis.
“That didn’t feel right,” he said, “because like everyone else in my family, brewing is in my blood.”
As the idea to get into the beer business took shape, Busch realized he could not make it happen without the help of people with broad experience in all phases of the brewing business.
“You don’t live your whole life with Gussie Busch without hearing everything there is to hear about the beer business,” he said. “But I knew that if this company was going to be successful, I’d need not only my own experience but also a talented team of management professionals at my side.”
On board as directors and shareholders of the company are James F. Hoffmeister, president and chief executive officer, with 40 years of brewery experience in finance, administration and senior management; Gary J. Prindiville, Jr., vice president and chief operating officer, a 25-year veteran with experience as a senior manager in brewery operations, strategic planning and information technology; Michael J. Brooks, executive director, a senior executive with 19-years of brewery experience in sales and wholesaler operations; and Marc Gottfried, vice president/brewing and head brewmaster, an award-winning certified brewmaster for 16 years and a recognized expert in the brewing of mainstream, lager beers.
“Altogether,” Busch said, “these guys have almost 100 years of experience in all phases of the brewing industry.”
Initially, the William K Busch Brewing Company’s brands will be brewed under the supervision of company brewmaster Marc Gottfried at City Brewing Co., a traditional brewing facility in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. But the company’s plans include the construction of a downtown St. Louis brewery capable of brewing millions of barrels of beer annually.
Details of the brewery development plan will be announced in the near future, according to Busch.
“Our first brewery will be small compared to the giant international breweries operating here and around the country,” Busch said. “But we are not a brewpub or ‘craft’ brand brewer. Regardless of its size, our brewery here will be a powerful first step in our plans to become a successful brewer of mainstream national brands in the U.S.”
“In fact, that’s what Kräftig means in German: ‘powerful’.”
Busch explained that the brand name is not meant to describe the alcohol strength of the brands, which will be comparable to other premium regular and light beers brewed in this country.
“We wanted a brand name that reflects my family’s German brewing heritage. And we wanted it to make a statement about the strength of our commitment and the fact that we believe our beers will become powerful new entries in the American beer marketplace,” he said.
“Therefore – Kräftig.”
Kräftig and Kräftig Light are all-malt beers, brewed from only the four primary ingredients used for centuries by master brewers in Germany – pure water, barley malt, hops and yeast. No rice, corn or other added grains are used in the brewing process to reduce costs or alter taste.
“The ingredients we use in our brewing process,” said Busch, “are simply the best available to any brewer in the world – fine barley malt, premium brewers’ yeast and hops from the ‘noble’ varieties of imported Hallertau, the purest and most expensive hops in the world.”
Initial distribution of Kräftig brands – beginning November 7 and continuing through the remainder of the year -- will focus on the St. Louis Metropolitan area, including surrounding counties in both Missouri and Illinois. Regional and national distribution plans and projections will be announced at a later date.
“In the 19th Century,” Busch said, “my great-grandfather started a family tradition of brewing the finest beers in America. In the 20th Century, my grandfather and my father carried on that tradition and made their beers known and respected and successful around the world.
“For the 21st Century, my goal is to add a new chapter to that tradition and help take it indefinitely into the future.”
The William K Busch Brewing Company was established in the summer of 2011 and is owned by Busch and four partners, all of whom are involved in the management of the company. Temporary corporate offices are located in Clayton, Mo., with contract brewing operations in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The company is not associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev or any of its affiliates. For more information, please visit Facebook.com/EnjoyKraftig. EnjoyKraftig.com will be live on Nov. 7.
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