If one needs proof that the Craft Beer wave in Germany has definitively subsided, it can be found today at Crew Republic. As reported by inside.getraenke, the Bitburger Brewery Group, as the main shareholder, will soon cease production at the barely eight year-old 17,000 hl brewery in Unterschleißheim near Munich.
The production of the Crew Republic beers will be relocated to the state-of-the-art experimental brewery Craftwerk Brewing in Bitburg. Allegedly, the main varieties, Crew Local Hero Hell and Crew Drunken Sailor IPA, as well as the successful collaboration beer with Iron Maiden, the 5,000 hl Trooper Lager, have been produced in the Bitburger experimental brewery for quite some time.
The founders of Crew Republic, Mario Hanel and Timm Schnigula, established the brewery in 2011, initially contract brewing the beers at Schlossbrauerei Hohenthann, 85km north-east of Munich. Only in 2015 did they commence their own production in a facility in Unterschleißheim in the north of Munich.
In 2013, the Noris Hopfenverwertungsgesellschaft, a subsidiary of the hop merchant Barth-Haas, entered as a minority shareholder with 24% of the shares to finance the expansion. In 2019, AB InBev also acquired 20% of the shares from the original owners. In 2021, Bitburger then took over the shares from AB InBev and later from Noris, eventually increasing its stake to just over 50%. (inside.beer, 3.12.2021)
Jan Niewodniczanski, representing the seventh family generation at the Bitburger Brewery Group, who has been leading the Technology and Environment department of the group since 2006, is said to have a special affinity for craft beers. Reportedly, the brewery has never been profitable.
Now, production is being shut down at the gates of Munich. However, the brands are intended to be preserved as long as there is still a market for them. It seems that the experiment of "Craft Beer" has failed in Germany. Co-founder Schnigula already sensed it years ago: "Actually, we thought it would be easier to advance the Craft Beer movement in Germany," he said in an interview with Hopfenhelden.