How Bayern Redefines Success in Celebration of 35 Years

The definition of growth for a brewery has absolutely changed, explained Bayern Brewing owner Juergen Knoeller.

“As recent as 10 years ago, we looked at expanding the market area for growth,” he recalled. “Nowadays the focus has changed towards growing the market share in existing markets, rather than finding new ones.

“Consumers now tend to buy more local products. We were lucky not having expanded our market area too far and therefore we never had the problems of having to compete in distant markets.”

The ideas to grow did come up, but now the Missoula, Montana brewery is on the cusp of celebrating 35 years since opening and Knoeller shared with Brewer the accomplishments and lessons the brewery has had over the years.

“We are focusing our sales efforts on the local markets and staying active in the community,” Knoeller said when asked how the brewery continues to develop itself.

Some of the keys to the brewery’s longevity, he said, are maintaining quality through quality management and investments in quality control and automation while also placing investments in sustainability, such as its glass recycling and bottle washing program.

READ MORE: How Bayern Brewing Cleans Up on its Bottles

“Adhering to our core principles of consistently producing quality German beer styles and not chasing trends in the ever-changing beer landscape,” has also been a benchmark the brand has stuck with and  Knoeller feels it has paid off.

“Those ideas only differ in the need for more automation to ensure that with more employees, as the company grew, the consistency remained,” he said. “We are producing more beer styles than we did 15 years ago, but never changed the formulation of our old beer styles. It helped us to establish our brand and we are now looking back on almost three generations of loyal customers.”

That does not mean there haven’t been stumbles or roadblocks. Having had a bad lease agreement in the past forced them to find a new home for the brewery.

“But this time we purchased a building, rather than leasing one again,” Knoeller said. “If you are planning on having a brewery for the long haul, find a home for it first.”

To celebrate, the brewery is releasing a 35th Anniversary Celebration Pilsener this month.

“The Celebration Pilsener is special in the fact it is as retro as it gets and goes back to the distinct character of the region during the time of traditional Bavarian brewing,” the brewery’s Shawna Chandler said. It is described as malt-forward with a clean dry-hop finish.

Then, on August 13, the brewery will have a party at Caras Park with live music, food vendors, commemorative steins/merch, games, and yes … plenty of beer.

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