How Does Your Brewery Tackle Local Ingredients?

As breweries look to their region and dig in deep to establish a consumer base with those that are in the backyard of their home market, finding ways to connect and localize their brand seems to be vital.

Sometimes though, local doesn’t always mean better. That’s when the quality discussion comes into play.

“We believe only in the best possible ingredients we can source regardless of where they originate,” said Zak Koga of Madison, Wisconsin’s Karben4 Brewing. “We believe in meritocracy over a nepotistic view of local. We deserve no one’s business.

“I am not entitled to my neighbor’s $5. I need to earn it every single time. Our version of local is that our neighbors deserve our absolute best. We want to be something they can be proud of.”

For the Kansas City Bier Company, not being local in those aspects is a part of the brewery’s mission. The brewery uses only German yeast, hops, and malt. Only the water is local said managing owner Stephen Holle.

“We advertise ‘Imported flavor. Local freshness,’” he said. “Malt and hops have terroir, and we could not capture authentic German flavor with domestic ingredients. The goal is for our bier to taste just as authentic as a German import, but have the same freshness as if the consumer were drinking a German-made bier in Munich.”

The use of imported ingredients is not a marketing ploy, insisted Holle.

“It makes a difference in the flavor; however, the use of imported ingredients and the use of only the four ingredients allowed by the German Purity Law of 1516 is a point of differentiation from other domestic brewers, which we hope consumers will notice in the flavor,” he said.

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