Dagmar Broska, Beer Master at Krombacher, the number one premium beer in Germany, was recently in Australia and chatted to Drinks World’s Lukas Raschilla about all things Krombacher.
Lukas Raschilla: What brings you to Australia?
Dagmar Broska: I’m here to get a better idea of the on-premise market and how we’ve been doing since launching in Australia. I also took the opportunity to meet the winner of the perfect pour competition. This trip allowed me to visit the market again, to see where we are and to see what our next move should be.
LR: How are you finding the response from the Australian market?
DB: From the feedback we’re getting, a lot of people like the beer. But I mean, we still have a long way to go. The different bars I have visited on this trip, that I talked to about Krombacher, everyone seems to really really like the beer. The Pils, which is about 90% of our sales here is a very easy to drink smooth beer, and taste wise its been very well received.
LR: Is Kromacher currently only available in packed in Australia?
DB: We are only in bottles at the moment in Australia. My personal goal is draught, but for that we have to have a little bit of a different setup. Draught is the better experience, particularly with somewhat of an unknown brand, so that will gives the consumer much more opportunity to try it and talk about it, instead of just having it in bottles. This is something we are looking at and discussing with our distributor, Kollaras and their team, and hopefully we can find a solution to bring draught here.
LR: In terms of the on-premise, are you attempting to be in venues such as Bavarian Beer Café, and German Clubs, or are you open to being in any kind of bar or venue, whether that’s a cocktail bar, restaurant or pub?
DB: Exactly, I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, but I view those places as slightly lower end. Just because we happen to be from Germany and those venues are German doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good fit for Krombacher. We see ourselves as a very high end, premium imported pils and a high-quality beer brand. So, while there may be better or easier opportunities with the Bavarian Beer Café or German Clubs, we prefer to be in other venues. For example, Stella is from Belgium but doesn’t target itself to Belgian people or in only Belgian places. In a city like Chicago, which is a big craft beer city, we currently have over 200 draught accounts and this ranges from the high-end bars and steak houses, through to neighbourhood bars and we don’t have one German venue account. This is because we think that the beer goes very well with food, because it’s not too heavy or overpowering and people like to enjoy meals with a beer like ours and it doesn’t take away from the food. We will target a range of venues, and although the German places are easier, they are not necessarily where our beers are solely being housed.
DB: The wheat, the hefe. I think the dark is very special, as it’s not a porter or a stout. It’s a little difficult to explain what it is when people see it, it’s very easy to drink but we need to explain what it is. With the wheat, it’s much easier because people are used to wheat beers and they know it as a specialty and a category where either you like that wheat beer fruity yeast taste, or you don’t like it, but you don’t have to explain it so much. I would say first the pils, then the wheat and then the dark. And we also produce those all in non-alcoholic versions. Obviously, the pilsner alcoholic version is big around the world, and we also do the wheat in non-alcoholic as well.
LR: Why do Krombacher produce non-alcoholic versions of their beers?
DB: In Germany, around 10 to 15 years ago, realising that soda drinks aren’t very popular, a lot of the breweries started making non-alcoholic beers. Europe roughly has a 10% market share in non-alcoholic beers now. The market is growing really strong, and it’s healthy as it’s all natural ingredients. So what we do is brew our normal beers then filter out the alcohol so it comes out at 0.05% ABV, so the taste is really the same taste as the alcoholic beer. It’s really difficult to taste a difference, which is probably why it’s been so successful. In Germany, a lot of people will also drink a non-alcoholic beer after sports because it has a lot of the natural minerals, instead of drinking a sports drink like Gatorade. It’s also becoming more common to order a non-alcoholic beer with lunch, instead of having a soda. It’s also growing in other countries, for example the wheat non-alcoholic is our second biggest SKU in Chicago.
LR: What else have you got planned ahead for Krombacher. Any additions to the range or upcoming seasonal brews you’re excited about?
DB: The focus in Australia is the pils, but we also do a Helles beer in Germany and in some Asian countries as well. We also do a Kellerbier, which is an unfiltered beer that’s only seven days old and very traditional in Germany to bring it out each March and April. So we do that and we are doing Kellerbier events in the US and Korea, and celebrated German Purity law on April 23. We are still a mono brewery and don’t brew any other brands or innovative beer, we just brew according to the German Purity Law and that limits us to certain styles. The Pils segment is large in Germany, with around 80% of beers being pilsner.
LR: Do you have a personal Krombacher beer?
DB: For me, it’s the dark. For me, it has a nice sweet taste because we use roasted malt after fermentation with the dark and let it sit for a while so it gives the beer a little sweet toffee and caramel taste.
Check out more about the Krombacher range here