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The Story of Radeberger: The Original German Pilsner

Sit back, relax, pour yourself a beer and strap in for a tale as old as German Pilsner.


It could only have been Radeberg

Invention coupled with ambition gives birth to greatness and, in the late 1800’s, nowhere was this more evident than in the city of Radeberg, Germany. Tucked between Dresden and the Elbe Valley, Radeberg lay at the heart of the Kingdom of Saxony before Germany was a unified country. Saxons are renowned for their unwavering devotion to industry, relentless obsession with quality, and flourishing cultural freedom: the perfect landscape for the genesis of Radeberger Pilsner.

In 19th century Europe, revolution wasn’t the only thing brewing.

Empires were falling, new states were born and maps were re-drawn – Europe went through a lot of changes back then. But somewhere near the eye of the storm lay the German town of Radeberg; home to men whose heads weren’t clouded by the turmoil around them. While others conquered lands, they conquered beer and created the distinctive taste of Radeberger Pilsner – the beverage of choice for connoisseurs the world over since 1872. Think of it as their gift to a world in desperate need of relaxation – much like ours today.

Due to its selective availability and supply, Radeberger Pilsner was regarded as a trade currency in former Eastern Germany.

Never underestimate the power of an idea

Greatness comes in unlikely forms. On a cold January evening back in 1872, Gustav Philipp, Max Rumpelt, Florenz Julius Schone, Carl Hermann Rasche, and Heinrich Minckwitz gathered for a beer in their local tavern and hatched a plot to brew an entirely unique German Pilsner, unlike anything known before. The fact that they had no background in brewing (and came from business, politics, and manufacturing) was no deterrent to their mission. They were convinced that by pooling their ingenuity (and money), they could create the best tasting German Pilsner of the day.

Enter Conrad Brüne, Radeberger’s first master brewer

He elevated the passion of the original founders into an art form. As master brewer from 1886 to 1923, Brüne single-handedly masterminded a “Pilsner sensation”. His relentless quest for perfection, fuelled by pioneering breakthroughs in brewing technology, cemented the fledgling company’s reputation as the finest purveyor of German Pilsner in the land.

Choice of kings – great taste travels well – and always makes friends along the way

Today in Berlin when Germany hosts foreign dignitaries for state events, Radeberger Pilsner is the beer the German Chancellor raises to toast in special occasions; this has been a tradition for over a century. Prince Otto von Bismarck was so enamoured by its seductive flavour that he named it the official “Chancellor’s Brew” in 1888. Not one to be outdone, King Frederick Augustus of Saxony followed suit by naming it the official beverage of preference for his court – and there followed an array of awards from festivals around the world, distinguishing Radeberger Pilsner as the choice of discerning connoisseurs from then on until now.


Great taste does not know the meaning of the word compromise

When you’ve brewed an iconic German Pilsner as long as Radeberger, you have plenty of time to get it right. However, the true test of greatness is maintaining impeccable standards through all the twists and turns of time – both good and bad alike. Despite the ups and downs of the world over the past 140 years, Radeberger has never once compromised their technique or ingredients, and remain committed to the ideal of quality over quantity; every drop of Radeberger Pilsner in their hometown, as it always has been, to ensure absolute consistency and quality around the world.

You don’t have to own a spring-water well – but it certainly helps

If beer is 90% water, then it better be the best water you can find. Thus was the thinking behind the decision by Radeberger’s original founders to import 2,500 litres of water from Bohemia (Czech Republic) over the Ore Mountains into Radeberg, Germany by horse-drawn carts – believing it was the perfect ingredient for their new creation. When they quickly discovered that Bohemian water lacked the softness to which they aspired for their infant brew, it was used to irrigate the flower beds of Radeberg.

The formula for greatness is simple for those find it

There’s no telling what can be achieved when passion meets a brilliant idea. Radebeger started with the simplest ingredients – soft, pure water from their exclusive artesian well; exquisite hops; and fine malted barley – added the most advanced innovations of the day and spared no effort in the pursuit of perfection. Greatness may sound simple, but it’s never easy – and Radeberger’s undying commitment to quality ensures they never drop the ball (or even the bottle).

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