English | Deutsch

More beer quality for Regensburg

In all honesty, I have to admit that my acquaintance with of Craft Beer was still pretty sporadic in nature when I began my internship here at Krones. My knowledge of beer was restricted to dark and light beer, wheat beer and shandy. Bock beer I remembered from the occasional high-strength-beer festival. Yes, and Craft Beer? Well, I’d definitely heard of it, and it had somehow registered in my subconscious, but I hadn’t ever really thought much about it. This has now (happily) changed, thanks to my remit as an author for the Craft Beer Blog, and after my visit to the Craft Beer Festival in Regensburg at the latest, I’ve learned to relish Chocolate Stout, Apple Ale, Coffee Porter and Co. For me as a layperson, though, there’s definitely a lot to learn still. And why shouldn’t I begin right here in Regensburg? This is at least an excellent place to start, since for one year now Regensburg has been home to the birretta – Regensburg’s first Craft Beer shop. I picked the brains of Thomas Raab, one of the four proprietors, about the birretta, its assortment and about craft beer in general …


What gave you the idea of opening a craft beer store?

Primarily, what we want to do with our shop is showcase taste diversity. It’s great to see just how many flavours the craft beer scene is offering. And craft beer is gaining steadily in acceptance, as demonstrated not least by the Craft Beer Festival. 18,000 visitors this year – the figures speak for themselves, wouldn’t you say?

Who is actually meant when you say “We”?

“We”, that means eight of us in all. Martin and Carolin Hoff, Martin Schwenke and I myself as the shop’s proprietors. In addition, we have hired four employees.

Is there something like a basic concept you purposefully pursue and remain faithful to?

Yes, that can be summarised quite clearly in a few brief points. Primarily, we stand for diversity and quality. This is conditional, of course, on our contributing curiosity and enthusiasm for Craft Beer ourselves. And finally, we aim to think outside the box. We aim to show that tradition doesn’t end at your own front door.

What makes the birretta so special?

I think firstly it’s the advice our customers get from us. We’re thoroughly familiar with the beers and the beer styles we offer, and given the huge assortment we always have in stock, there’s bound to be something to suit every taste. And the historic ambience definitely gives the birretta a charm all of its own, which people appreciate.

Did you start out on a small scale, i.e. with a modest collection of craft beer types? What does your range look like?

No. Right from the start, we had 300 different beers in stock. Basically, we have representatives in our range of all the beer styles there are. We always have to stay at the forefront of ongoing trends, of course, and keep ourselves well informed on what’s happening in the very volatile craft beer scene. What’s going on all around us? This is very important. After all, this is the quintessential charm of craft beer as such. Generally, though, we always have a basis of 50 to 60 standards. Now and then, we also have what are called one-off brews, like Christmas or Whitsun beer, which then of course, are only temporarily on sale.

How often do you change the craft beers you’re offering?

As I said, we have a core stock on offer, numbering 50 to 60 standard types. We change the composition of the range on a monthly or weekly basis – depending on what the market currently has on offer.

What are your criteria for including a particular beer in your range? Do you try out every “potential candidate” yourselves before it ends up on your shelves?

Our basic principle is this: we, meaning the staff and the proprietors, always taste the beers before we put them up for sale. If a beer is able to convince two of our tasters, then it’s accepted into the birretta’s range. We also, of course, take on board the wishes and suggestions of our customers.

Which beer is particularly extravagant? Which one is the most popular, by which I mean which one has the most fans among Craft Beer lovers?

With 500 beers, abundant customers and correspondingly disparate taste preferences, this is not all that easy to say. But I do remember a fruit or sour beer that was very well received– a Mango Gose.

Is your range international in terms of composition?

Yes, definitely, and we’re also very proud of the wide choice we offer. Our range covers approximately 20 different countries worldwide.

What does your customer base look like?

Roughly speaking we have three main categories: firstly, the customers who buy from us directly, and can thus give us immediate feedback. Then the catering trade, and finally the retailers and wholesalers, such as beverage cash-and-carry stores. In the catering trade, the problem of tied houses is unfortunately still very prevalent, but as far as retailers and wholesalers are concerned, we’re meanwhile operating in a very large radius: we’re regularly supplying beverage cash-and-carry stores for 100 to 150 kilometres around, and for two months a consignment has even been going to Hamburg now and then.

So what do your plans for the future look like?

We’re targeting slow, prudent growth; we aim to provide consumers with more information on what a good beer is, what its salient features are. And what’s more, we’re planning to open two or three more shops. But I’d prefer not to reveal too much here just yet. 🙂

What’s your personal assessment of the development and future of the Craft Beer scene? Are there discernible trends and major focuses?

I think the Craft Beer scene is going to grow, the quality will improve, and very many small breweries will be set up. But this doesn’t necessarily mean everything that’s brewed is automatically going to be good. The market will police itself. So there will be a surplus of new suppliers, and some of them will survive, while others won’t. Typical TV beers may adversely affect Craft Beers with attempts at dumping prices. Basically, though, I see a rosy future for craft brewers, because people themselves are showing increased awareness of how important a beer’s quality is. We’re/I’m noticing that here in Regensburg as well, which is very gratifying, not least to me personally.


As you can see, Regensburg’s craft brewing scene is vibrantly alive – and not just for two days at the Craft Beer Festival. If your curiosity about Craft Beer has been whetted this year during the festival at Neupfarrplatz, or have long since become a dedicated craft beer lover, then I can thoroughly recommend to you the birretta in Regensburg. One thing I can promise you: you won’t go away empty-handed (or dry-throated!). 🙂

Share on Pinterest
Your Comment

All (*) marked fields are mandatory fields