1589 – The founding of Hofbräuhaus
Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria (1579-1597), had a thirsty and demanding household. They were dissatisfied with the beer brewed in Munich, and so beer had to be imported from the town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony. Wilhelm ordered his retinue to think of ways of reconciling cost and pleasure, and on September 27, 1589, his chamberlain and counsellors Ch. Strabl, A. Amasmeyr, S. Prew and G. Griesmair submitted a suggestion: why not build a brewery? Wilhelm was delighted with the idea and on the very same day (!) recruited the brewmaster of Geisenfeld Monastery, Heimeran Pongraz, to plan and supervise the construction of Hofbräuhaus (the “ducal brewery”), and to be its first master brewer.
1602 – HB brews Weissbier
Wilhelm’s son and heir, Maximilian I, had a different taste in beer than his father before him. He was less of a fan of the dark and heavy “Braunbier” – the most popular juice of the barley at that period. And he was not just a gourmet, but also a shrewd strategist where financing and marketing were concerned. Without further ado, he forbade all other private breweries to brew Weissbier, thus creating a monopoly for himself and his ducal brewery. That meant not only a handsome source of income for his court, but also 400 years of experience in Weissbier brewing for Hofbräu München, as the brewery is called today.
1607 – Change of address for the ducal brewery
Being successful isn’t always easy. Maximilian learned the truth of this when his Weissbier sold so well that the brewery was unable to brew fast enough to keep up with demand. In 1605, the ducal brewery brewed a massive 117,424 gallons of beer – a veritable beer lake, a huge amount for that time. Maximilian decided to relocate the brewery and had a new one built on the Platzl (plaza), where the beerhall still stands today.
1610 – HB beer for taverners
Of course, the new building had to be financed. Maximilian, with his keen financial sense, was aware of the potential that Weissbier offered and converted his people’s thirst into cash. In 1610, he legalised what was already common custom under the counter – he issued an edict allowing Munich’s tavern owners to buy beer from the ducal brewery and to serve it not only to members of the ducal household, but also to the “common folk”. That fired the starting shot for the triumphal march of the beers of Hofbräu München.
1614 – The first Maibock
Heimeran Pongraz’ successor, Elias Pichler, was under pressure. The new brewery on the Platzl was complete, brewing was in progress, but the ducal court was complaining. In olden days, they lamented, there was always some of that good old strong beer from Einbeck to be had, but now – nothing but that locally brewed Braunbier and Weissbier. There had to be something stronger! Pichler experimented and in early 1614 produced the first beer in Munich brewed using the “Ainpockhisch” (Einbeck) method. This “Maibock” beer was to save the city of Munich. When the Swedish army occupied the town in 1632 during the Thirty Years’ War, they only refrained from plundering and burning once they had been paid tribute of 344 pails of Maibock beer brewed in the Hofbräuhaus brewery.
1810 – The first Munich Beer Festival
King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria spared no expense when his son Ludwig married his beloved Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen, and held a massive party for 40,000 guests on October 17, 1810. The climax was an 36,000 feet horse race in a large meadow outside the town. Maximilian I Joseph readily agreed to a request to name the place “Theresienwiese” (“Theresa’s Meadow”) in honour of the bride, and to repeat the festival every year. A good nosh-up being part and parcel of any self-respecting popular festival, the eating houses and taverns, including one belonging to the royal Hofbräuhaus, were permitted to provide food and drink. Two years later, desirous of offering His Majesty a really special beverage, the royal brewers started to brew a beer specially for the festival with a deep golden colour, stronger original wort and higher alcoholic content – the world-famous “Oktoberfestbier” from Hofbräu München.
1828 – The first public bar serving Hofbräu beer
When Munich’s private brewers and tavern-owners complained that many ordinary citizens would like to enjoy the beer from the royal brewery like the public employees, Ludwig I proved to be an out-and-out philanthropist. He issued a decree granting a license for the beer, as well as food, to be served publicly in the Hofbräuhaus – the Hofbräuhaus inn we know today was born. Sixteen years later, on October 1, 1844, Ludwig gave further proof of his philanthropic attitude: he cut the price of a one-litre mug of Hofbräu beer from 6_ crowns to just 5 crowns so that, in Ludwig’s words, “the working class and soldiers could afford a healthy and inexpensive drink.”
1879 – Registered trademark
In the advertising world, plagiarism – stealing somebody else’s idea – is known as “inspiration”. And various other court breweries in Germany found “inspiration” in the highly characteristic mark of Munich’s Hofbräuhaus. To put an end to this, the brewery director, Johann Nepomuk Staubwasser, had the world-famous logo registered, first of all with the Munich District Court, and shortly after also with the Imperial Patents Office in Berlin, for use “solely by the Royal Hofbräuhaus Company in Munich”. The “wares (sic!) for which the sign is reserved”, said the letters patent, “[are] self-brewed beers in kegs or bottles”.
1896 – A new brewery
Space was getting short in Hofbräuhaus on the Platzl. Evidently, it wasn’t going to be possible to keep the brewery and the inn under the same roof forever. So it was that the Prince Regent Luitpold decided to move the brewery part out of Hofbräuhaus and to build a new brewery over the storage cellars on Innere Wiener Strasse. The final batch of beer was made on the Platzl on May 22, 1896, and then removed to the new fermenting cellar on June 2. The non-reusable brewery installations were scrapped, new equipment was purchased and everything that could be recovered moved to the new premises within 70 days. Brewing resumed in the new brewery on August 10, 1896.
1897 – Hofbräuhaus is renovated
The rise in “tourism” brought an increasing flood of visitors to the city of Munich whose programme included a visit to Hofbräuhaus. Chemnitz-born architect Max Littmann was commissioned by the Royal Planning Department to convert the building on the Platzl into a modern eating house. Littmann’s father-in-law Jakob Heilmann, who owned a firm of building contractors, began demolition work on the old brewery on September 2, 1896, to build the taproom as we know it today, which was opened on February 9, 1897. On the same day, demolition work started on the office building, which was converted into a separate restaurant part. The newly renovated Hofbräuhaus was opened on September 22.
1935 – The Hofbräuhaus song
Who does not know the famous Hofbräuhaus song – “In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus – oans, zwoa, g’suffa!” (In Munich there’s a Hofbräuhaus – one, two, and down the hatch!). This musical declaration of love to the world’s most famous public house was penned by a native of – Berlin. Composer Wiga Gabriel wrote the music to words by his friend Klaus Siegfried Richter from Hindelang in a Berlin café. Another friend, Wilhelm Gebauer from Leipzig, published it and made the sheet music available to the Bavarian brass bands which provided the atmosphere at the Dürkheim Sausage Fair in the Palatinate in 1936. The song was a resounding success. It was the hit during the subsequent Carnival season which was the beginning of a triumphal march around the world.
1944 – Bombed
Even the most famous beer-house in the world was not spared the catastrophic events of the Second World War. In the night of April 25, 1944, Hofbräuhaus was hit by the first aerial bombs, and three further air attacks did more damage. When fighting finally came to an end on May 8, 1945, only a small part of the taproom in Hofbräuhaus was still in working order; all the other rooms had been destroyed.
For the first time, a keg of beer is tapped at the start of the Oktoberfest – and the beer it contains comes from Hofbräu München. After the second world war, the Oktoberfest did not take place again until 1949. 1950 was a historical milestone, being the first time that Munich’s mayor – in this case Thomas Wimmer – personally tapped the first barrel of beer at the opening of the event. And strangely enough, although the ceremony took place at the Schottenhammel marquee, which normally serves Spaten brews, the keg the mayor tapped contained Hofbräu beer. Unable to agree with Spaten on the price of its beers, the Schottenhammel family decided to serve Hofbräu München – both in 1950 and the following year.
1950 – Saving Hofbräu tankards from destruction in the second world war
Although the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl in the heart of Munich was practically destroyed in a second-world-war air raid (see the photo from 1944), several hundred beer mugs stored away in a cellar managed to survive the bombs. It goes without saying that the mugs were rescued soon after and taken away to a safe place.
1958 – Reconstruction
Valentin Emmert, the first tenant after the war, took the ruins of Hofbräuhaus in hand in fall 1945. He patched up the bomb-damaged rooms as best he could to keep the restaurant trade going. Building work was also going on at the brewery on Innere Wiener Strasse, 60 per cent of which had been destroyed. However, demand for Hofbräu beer was as strong as ever. In 1958, during Munich’s 800th anniversary celebrations, the Reception Room was reopened, marking the completion of the renovation work.
1972 – The new beer tent
The new Hofbräuhaus beer tent – the largest at the Beer Festival – was inaugurated at the Munich Beer Festival. Measuring 269 feet long and 204 feet wide, it covers a surface area of 54,876 square feet, in addition to which it has a beer garden of more than 21,500 square feet. The new tent has space for nearly 10,000 Beer Festival visitors. And they’re a hungry and thirsty lot. During the 16 days of the festival, some 145,000 gallons of beer, 70,000 portions of chicken, 5,500 portions of pork knuckle, 8,500 portions of pork sausage and 2,800 portions of spare ribs are consumed in the Hofbräuhaus beer tent.
1988 – The new brewery
In 1980, the Free State of Bavaria made plans to move the brewery to the outskirts of the city, and construction work began at a new location in the Munich suburb of Riem in September 1986. The new 76-million mark building was officially inaugurated on November 23, 1988. The brewery has its own well and excellent transport connections by rail and road and cutting-edge equipment. With a state-of-the-art equipment, designed for a production capacity of 6,603,000 gallons a year, the Hofbräuhaus brewery ranks among the most modern in Europe.
1995 – Extension
To keep up with rising demand from Germany and abroad, the brewery needed extending just seven years after it was built. In August 1995, four new storage tanks with a total capacity of 6,720 hectolitres were added to the existing 51. That meant a 15.7% increase in its overall capacity at one single go.
1995 – Brewery and pub in Hong Kong
A Hofbräuhaus opened in Hong Kong operating under franchise. It has an independent brewery in which HB beer is brewed to original recipes under the constant supervision of Hofbräu München. Thanks to this franchise system, the local operators are able to take advantage of Hofbräu München’s 400 years of brewing experience.
1997 – Hofbräuhaus Celebrates 100 Years
On 3 November 1997, a lavish celebration was held in downtown Munich to celebrate the one hundredth birthday of Hofbräuhaus as a restaurant in its current appearance. Hundreds of regular guests, drinking a specially brewed anniversary beer, raised their glasses to each other and to Hofbräuhaus – the most famous public house in the world!
1997 - Hofbräuhaus Beer Import Business Formally in the USA at Frankenmuth Oktoberfest.
In September of 1997, Hofbräu Oktoberfest beer was introduced at the Frankenmuth, Michigan Oktoberfest. The City’s Chamber President and local restaurant owners had initiated contact with Hofbräu Munich. Local businessman, Fred Schumacher and later President of Hofbräuhaus of America took care of the formalities to get the beer to Frankenmuth in time for the Oktoberfest.
September 1, 2000
A change of leadership at Hofbräu München. Finance minister Dr. Kurt Falthauser and Albert Riedl hand over the reins to Dr. Michael Möller.
2001 – Pure pleasure gets a new look
After careful consideration and extensive market research, Hofbräu München is given a complete makeover. The slogan: “Hofbräu: My Munich” is adopted to underscore the new image and new labels as Hofbräu München makes its way into the new millennium.
2002 – Hofbräu München beers become available at Munich`s Chinese Tower
01.01.2002: Hofbräu München becomes the sole supplier of beers and other beverages to the Chinese Tower. Located at the heart of the English Garden park, the historic pagoda offers a restaurant plus Munich’s most celebrated and scenic beer garden.
2003 – First Hofbräuhaus Franchise Opened in America
With now six years since the beer was introduced in the United States, it was now time for a real Hofbräuhaus in the U.S. In the April, 2003 a brewhaus and beer hall opens in the style of the Munich original in Newport, KY.
2003 – Hofbräuhaus at Munich Airport
A Hofbräuhaus with a difference opens at Munich Airport’s new Terminal 2. Run by the Kufflers, a well-known Munich catering family, the glass and steel restaurant has a modern and cosmopolitan look.
2004 – Success in the USA
Following a year’s construction, a perfect re-creation of the Munich Hofbräuhaus opens up in January, 2004 across from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino / next to the legendary Hard Rock Café / in Las Vegas, the world’s leading entertainment capital.
2005 – Hofbräuhaus of America, LLC Established
With the rapid expansion of the distribution of Hofbräu beer in the U.S. and the need for a U.S. franchise for its Hofbrauhauses, Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München and Schumacher & Associates, LLC established Hofbräuhaus of America, LLC in May, 2005.
2007 – 400 years of beer tradition at Munich`s Platzl square.
To mark the 400th anniversary of beer tradition at the Platzl square, Bavarian Finance Minister Dr. Kurt Faltlhauser presents the Hofbräuhaus a figurine of the brewing assistant Julius. The statue on which the figure is based embellished the northern gable of the building’s famous oriel until the end of the Second World War, and will be returned to its original place in 2008, some 60 years later. 1607: Maximilian I, duke of Bavaria, moves the flourishing Weissbier brewing operations from the Alte Hof palace to the new brewery he has had built at the Platzl square. It is here that Hofbräu beer continues to be brewed until 1897. 1897: The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is completely rebuilt and re-opened as a tavern, presenting itself in the form we know today.
2008 – The brewer`s assistant Julius returns
In 1897, Prince Regent Luitpold commissioned the Chemnitz-based architect Max Litmann with the refurbishment of the Hofbräuhaus. For the newly-built oriel, artist Julius Jordan was commissioned with the creation of a life-sized bronze figure of a brewer. Towards the end of the Second World War, this figure was lost when the Hofbräuhaus was destroyed by bombing-raids conducted by the Allies. During the festivities to mark the 400th year of Hofbräuhaus am Platzl in June 2007, former finance minister, Dr. Kurt Falthauser, presented the Sperger family, the innkeepers, with a small plaster figurine of the lost sculpture, and promised that this figure, in its original size, would once again sit atop the Hofbräuhaus in time for the celebrations commemorating the 850th birthday of the city of Munich. During an official ceremony on June 20, 2008, the bronze figure, named “Julius” after its creator, was hoisted with a crane and fixed to the north side of the Hofbräuhaus oriel. After 63 years, the ‘patron saint of brewers’ once again graces the roof of the Hofbräuhaus.
2009 - Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh Opens For Business
On March 16, 2009, the third Hofbräuhaus was established in Pittsburgh. Its strikingly beautiful site is located on the southern bank of the Monongahela River in Southside Works, just east of the foot of the Hot Metal Bridge.
2011 – Eight new fermentation and storage tanks for the brewery
The brewery was expanded with eight new tanks in the fermentation and storage cellar. The delivery of the 14 ton tanks that can hold 1,650 hectoliters of beer each was carried out with a heavy commercial vehicle. With this expansion Hofbräu Munich is now able to brew additional 90,000 hectoliters of beer.
2012 - S&H Independent Premium Brands - New Importer for Hofbräu beer in the USA
With the rapid growth of the Hofbräu brand in the U.S., Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München appoints S&H as the new importer. Hofbräuhaus of America can now concentrate its efforts on franchising and merchandising.
2013 - Hofbräuhaus Chicago becomes 4th Hofbräuhaus in the U.S.
On January 21, 2013 Hofbräuhaus Chicago in Rosemont opened its doors to the public for the first time. With 26,000 square feet plus an outside beer garden, it becomes the largest to date.
2014 -Hofbräuhaus Cleveland becomes the 5th Hofbräuhaus in the U.S.
On October 22, 2014 the Hofbräuhaus in Cleveland had its grand opening. It is located in Cleveland’s historic Playhouse Square. It combines the old and the new by incorporating the famous Hermit Club as part of the newly constructed Schwemme and Beer Garden.
2014 -Hofbräuhaus Columbus becomes the 6th Hofbräuhaus in the U.S.
On November 19, 2014 the Hofbräuhaus in Columbus had its grand opening. It is located in the city of Grandview Heights, a suburb of Columbus. In a larger scale new development of Nationwide, it is an attractive sight for all the Hofbräuhaus lovers.