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An interview with Braukraft: Mathias Lottes on German craft beer development and flying

by Yascha Roshani
Mathias Lottes von Braukraft

Mathias Lottes is a pilot. Like so many in today's craft scene, Mathias was also looking for more variety and fulfillment alongside his actual job. The only difference is that he was very early by German standards with his craft beer brand Braukraft. Starting out as a home brewer, Braukraft now has 14 different beers on offer. In this interview, Mathias talks about the development of craft beer in Germany and why the Braukraft labels are now being rebranded.

You can buy Braukraft beers online here

Many people still think being a pilot is cool - at least if Lufthansa is your employer. Is being a brewer even cooler than being a pilot?

(laughs) You can't say cooler. I don't think you can compare one with the other. As a brewer, you have to deal with a lot of interesting people who have their own experience with the direct subject matter. When flying, you mostly deal with "fellow pilots", hardly any professional pilots. I think the coolest thing is the pleasant mix of both.

You founded Braukraft in 2013, when craft beer was not yet so much on everyone's lips. Between 2008 and 2014 in particular, there were hardly any changes in the number of breweries. Only a few breweries were added each year. In 2012, the number even went down. How did you come to the decision to set up a brewery before the real craft beer hype?

Right from the start, it was important to me not to just jump on a trend with a brand and a nice label. Anyone can brew beer if they want to. It's just a question of money. I think you can only really make beer yourself, with all the good and bad experiences, if you really put your hand to it. And that can only be done on a larger scale in a small brewery of your own. Fortunately, an old distillery became available at the right time and we had a good location.

Hier werden die Braukraft-Biere gebrautThis is where the Braukraft beers are brewed

Around 180 new breweries have been added since 2014. Is this a good development for Germany?

It can only be a good development. Unfortunately, well over 90% of "normal beers", i.e. beers from very large, industrial producers, are still sold in Germany. In other countries, the acceptance of smaller breweries is much higher. Regionality is not only sung about in other countries, it is also lived. More breweries is a very good way to achieve this.

I'm a hobby brewer myself and I think the brewing community is really great. You can talk to everyone about everything in a relaxed and honest way. Is it the same when you start a brewery in Bavaria or are you not really taken seriously or even ridiculed at first? After all, you're surrounded by lots of traditional and top-class breweries and master brewers.

I can only speak for myself and I don't have any real contact with the really big breweries. However, in the size of our brewery, contact with colleagues is very good. People are also very happy to exchange ideas and help each other out in most cases. You only get ridiculed by die-hard beer drinkers who have been drinking the same beer for 20 years - or at least feel like they have.

What were the first three beers you brewed as a home brewer?

A Helles - went down the drain. A wheat beer - was very good. Then another attempt at a Helles - went back into the gully.

Bierverkostung bei BraukraftBeer tasting at Braukraft

If I've got it right, you currently have 14 different beers in your range. And that's in six years. How does the process work from creation to product launch?

Actually, there must be more than 20, but some of them didn't make it to market. Even now, three are being phased out and a new one is being added. Once you have decided on a new beer, the question of the color of the label comes up. We are currently in the transition phase and will change the appearance significantly. Until now, we wanted to keep the labels in a comic character. This has also worked quite well abroad. On the domestic market, unusual designs are praised by foreign breweries, but they are not so well received by domestic breweries. That's why the design is now much simpler. Then you approach your wholesalers and retailers and present the beer.

And has the limit been reached or will new types of beer still be added?

I hope there will be many more exciting varieties. There's bound to be just the right beer for every occasion. There should be no limits to creativity. It's similar to flying. Just because I've been to some cities a few times doesn't mean I'll stop exploring them. That's the fun of it.

Would you like to try the beers from Braukraft now? Then follow this link to order your favorite beers from the entire Braukraft range online.


About the autor:

Yascha Roshani

Yascha Roshani

Mitgründer von Honest & Rare

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Mich begeistern Getränke aller Art. Ob Bier, Gin, Weinbrand, Cold Brew Kaffee oder Limo. Vor allem liebe ich die Kultur, regionalen Bezüge und Herstellung von Getränken. Selbst braue ich ab und an Bier, setze Liköre an und röste Kaffee in der Pfanne.