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Löwenbräu: Indigenously German – Savoured by 007

The Löwenbräu is one of the most popular, ubiquitously available beer brands in Munich, Germany. Over the years it has become the staple of the German people considering their hard-core norms concerning beer production and consumption. The sheer historicity behind the brand makes its importance greater and even more significant for the city and the nation.

Löwenbräu, literally translates as lions brew and rightly so, keeping in mind the amount of customer loyalty and the market share that they command locally and internationally. The company has been bred in German traditions and skilled brewing practices since the 15th century. It eventually was able to capture the taste pallets of German beer drinkers and its upward scale began in the 19th century and since then it has become a favourite of many.

If you happen to be in Germany during the Oktoberfest then make it a point to visit the numerous Löwenbräu beer houses. They greet their customers with a loud, hearty roar. Löwenbräu is today located in Nymphenburger Straße and in the near about vicinity you can find the popular beer garden Löwenbräukeller at the Stiglmayerplatz which dates back to the year 1883.

History of Munich Löwenbräu Brewery

Löwenbräu has had an interesting and a long history. Records have suggested that it came about sometime in the year 1383. Though this date is slightly disputed but through further examinations, it has become clear that the Munich Löwenbräu Brewery is at least a hundred years older than purity laws of Bavaria which came about in 1516. Further clarity came dawned when a particular document concerning the Zum Lowen, an inn from 1383 was found. The owner of this inn, as did most propertied gentries of the time; brewed their own beers. Therefore, it was realised that Löwenbräu originated from this inn. However, this information still is subjected to a large amount of controversy.

In any case, the most significant year in the Munich Löwenbräu Brewery’s history was 1516 as was for most of the breweries in Bavaria. At this time the Bavarian purity laws were released, the law mandated breweries to only use hops from barley along with yeast and water in the production of beers. Moreover, the laws were met with the considerable amount of protests because they restricted the brewers and forced them to comply. But, they eventually gave way and they further were able to demonstrate skill and creativity in the production of beers despite the iron ruling. In many ways Bavaria uniquely differed from the rest of the Federal Republic of Germany were brewers added taste improvisers to enhance their varieties of beers. Till this very day all the breweries in Bavaria are governed by the said ruling and it is because of that they stand apart and produce the best kinds of beers.

Munich Löwenbräu Brewery entered into the modern industrialised modes of production between 1826 and 1855 and so did all the breweries of the region. But, it was Loewenbraeu AG which stood out from the rest of them. The brewery was the most meticulously planned and an ultra-modern site. Interestingly, the brewery still stands on the very same grounds where this transition was made.

By the year 1872, Munich Löwenbräu Brewery had managed to capture over one-fourth of the beer market and turned into Löwenbräu AG, a public company. It was incorporated under the name of Aktienbrauerei zum Löwenbräu. Ludwig Brey was its owner and the primary brewer. He began acquiring the nearby properties and between the years 1882-83 he got hold of the Rank Brothers to build the Löwenbräukeller. The year 1886 saw the registration of the trademark lion which can be seen in the company’s logo. The design of the lion was borrowed from the fresco – Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

At around the turn of the century, the company became the largest brewery in Germany. Its success was primarily due to the strong export market. However, it was adversely affected during the World Wars. Löwenbräu then by 1921 had to be merged with two other breweries – Unionsbräu Schülein & Cie and Munich Bürgerbräu. Through this merger, the outreach of Löwenbräu increased manifolds.

During the Nazi occupation, the brewery had to undergo a tumultuous ride. This was because of the inclusion of the Jewish, Joseph Schülein on the advisory board. Schülein, later on, tenured as the company’s owner, as a result, the Nazis began tagging Löwenbräu as Jewsbeer. Towards the end of the war, the brewery was destroyed by the allied bombings. With the end of the war, heirs of Schülein, who had earlier fled to the United States; safeguarded the survival of the brewery. The brewery successfully rebounded and commenced its exports with Switzerland in 1948.

    Löwenbräu and Germany

Germany and alcohol particularly beers have almost become synonymous. The Bavarian breweries are the most reputed because of a certain kind of uniqueness that they pose. As a matter of fact, this is something fascinating, figures suggest that Bavaria alone houses nearly one-third of all the world’s breweries within its boundaries. Furthermore, there are about 1,300 breweries in total in Germany and Bavaria has 900 of them. These figures are slightly older but they nevertheless speak of the sheer volume that Bavaria commands.

The success of such a magnitude despite the global markets largely facing a slump over the years is indeed remarkable. The many locals are of the opinion that it is the severe cut throat competition which has in many ways made them better at what they do. It is also important to point out that German breweries are largely protected from the global market tendencies rather it is in fact the domestic competition that is more worrisome. German beer drinkers have quite rigorous standards when it comes to their choice of ale. To acquire the same kind of market share which Löwenbräu commands elsewhere, abroad, for instance, is quite a challenge for any company. Despite all these difficult circumstances Löwenbräu has proved its metal time and again and thus become the most sought after beer brand in Germany and the rest of the world.

There is no country in the world other than Germany which has such a developed and skill intensive brewery market. Germans have time and again been able to develop and maintain the highest of industry standards. All the ingredients that are required in the production of beer undergo a scrutinising process before they are incorporated. Germany also has its very own brewery schools and institutes who have been able to develop the age-old processes and enhance their effectiveness.

    Löwenbräu and the world

Löwenbräu was first sold outside Europe in the United States since the middle of the last century. Its exports thereon have always seen an upward movement and become stronger because of a strong following. From that point of a humble beginning, Löwenbräu has spread through all the continents.

One can estimate the sincerity and the dedication of Löwenbräu AG based on the considerations that they undertake while exporting. Brewing involves a meticulous scientific process hence when they first began exporting first in the 1920s the company had installed a simulator to study the various conditions freight undergoes while it is being shipped. Löwenbräu said that this was critically required to maintain the distinct taste of their product while it is on long sea voyages.

During the World Wars as was the case with most of the industries in Germany, they had to largely put a hold on to their primary production and engage with the military requirements as posed by the state. However, it proved to be quite a task for the Germans to recommence its traditional industries. But, they nevertheless managed to do so and Löwenbräu was on top of everything. They rekindled their hampered spirit and took on the new world as it ushered in. Löwenbräu, thus today enjoys the benefits of hard work which the company put in after the war was over. It has managed to place itself in the elite category of German beer brands. The company also started to express the primary character of its premium line by a dictum which goes as follows – “If you run out of Löwenbräu, order champagne”.

Löwenbräu AG was determined to cater to the international market the same way it operated the domestic German market. Adequate efforts were made in this regard and it started bearing fruits post-1974. It was in the year 1974 that the Philip Morris/ Miller Brewing Company of the United States was granted licences to establish their breweries abroad. This incident, however, did not affect Löwenbräu directly but from then onwards beers from Germany could directly be imported. Thereon whatever followed is history and the success of the company speaks for itself. Löwenbräu eventually was awarded brewing licences in the Great Britain first and then Greece, Hong Kong and Japan, and these are just a few.

Following is a list of the popular beers that Löwenbräu produces:

  • Löwenbräu original
  • Löwenbräu dark
  • Löwenbräu Triumphator
  • Löwenbräu Alcohol-Free
  • Löwenbräu Urtyp
  • Löwenbräu Lion Weisse
  • Löwenbräu Radler
  • Löwenbräu Oktoberfest beer

James Bond loves Löwenbräu

If you are a James Bond fan then this might be of certain interest. Mr Bond is featured drinking the Löwenbräu in the novel Goldfinger, and in The Living Daylights as well, one of Ian Fleming’s short stories. In this short story, 007 makes a visit to Berlin on an assignment and while on one of his freer days, he travels to a café and orders – Moll emit Korn. This translates as – a double-schnapps with a stein of draught Löwenbräu as a chaser.

 Following is a list of the other more important breweries in Munich:

  • Hofbräuhaus: This is another brand which is as popular as the Löwenbräu. Though it is more popularly known by its shorter name, the Haus. Wilhelm V is credited with founding this brewery back in 1583. You can still find the Hofbräuhaus at the Platzl where it was originally located. This spot has become a major tourist attraction of the city. It was then relocated to Wiener Platz where the company created what is today called the most beautiful beer garden.
  • Augustinerbräu: The Augustiner Brothers who have been brewing beers since the year 1328 are responsible for the creation of Augustinerbräu as well. They began brewing as early as the year 1328 at today’s Augustiner Großgastätte which is further located near the Marienplatz. Augustiner Brothers are in fact the oldest surviving breweries present in the city of Munich. When in 1803 secularisation spread through the region, the monks who were earlier the pioneers of the brewery had to forgo all sorts of control. Eventually, the state took control but the name of the beer still remained as it was. By the year 1817, the production unit moved elsewhere and later on in 1829 was purchased by – Anton and Therese Wagner whose family still owns the company today. In the course of a few years, it was moved to its current location. Moreover, during the Second World War this location was razed by the Allied bombings. When the entire structure was built again it became one of the protected monuments of Munich. Today, it is one of the most popular beer brands available and some locals also suggest that it is the best there is.
  • Paulaner: Another well-known variety from the city is the Paulaner beer; it finishes on a close second after the Augustinerbräu in terms of popularity. Paulaner also has had a long historical route. It dates back to the year 1634 wherein it first began by selling beer at the time of public holidays. Today, one can find Paulaner located at Nockherberg.
  • Spaten: It was founded in the year 1397 at the Neuhauser Gasse. Spaten was then relocated to the location where it can be found today at Marsstraße. It is managed by the Sedlmayr Family for the past 200 years.
  • Augustiner: Often otherwise allegedly regarded as the oldest brewery in Munich, Augustiner was established in the year 1328. The roots of this brewery can be traced back to the Munich Augustiner monastery which is located in Neuhauser Gasse. Later on, it was relocated to Neuhauser Straße wherein today also you can find the Augustiner inn. Eventually it was further relocated to its current spot which is at Landberger Straße.