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Going Beyond Beer, Bavarian-Style

Many German breweries produce more than beer, and Urban Chestnut’s Florian Kuplent got his start at just such a brewery. Here he explains a pragmatic approach to broadening a brewing business, walking us drink-by-drink through their beverage program.

Joe Stange Feb 22, 2021 - 12 min read

Going Beyond Beer, Bavarian-Style Primary Image

Photo: Courtesy Urban Chestnut

Here’s a thought: In Germany—the land of the Reinheitsgebot—it is not at all unusual for breweries to produce drinks besides beer. In fact, the home of the so-called “beer purity law” loves to mix its beer with soda and bottle it—i.e., biermischgetränke, or beer mixed drinks, such as radlers and diesels.

Of course, they still brew a ton of beer, and there is plenty of demand for it. But many breweries are also beverage businesses—producing soft drinks, waters, juices, schnapps, and more.

Florian Kuplent, cofounder and brewmaster at Urban Chestnut in St. Louis, mentions this relatively common German practice when he discusses his brewery’s diversification into other beverages, including hard seltzer. The 148-year-old brewery where Kuplent got his start—Brauerei Erharting in Upper Bavaria, about 50 miles east of Munich—was no different. Even today, Erharting produces bottled water, orange and lemon soda, cola, and a low-calorie “isotonic” sports drink.

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Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].