Big, New, Ambitious

There’s a new brewery in St. Louis. And it has some familiar names attached.

William K. Busch Brewing Co., was started by Jim Hoffmeister, a former top executive at Anheuser-Busch and William K. “Billy” Busch, a son of August “Gussie” Busch Jr.

And they have huge ambitions. Huge as in, mega-huge.

The two are rolling out a Bud-like beer (yellow-fizzy lager – but it is all-malt) called Kräftig.

The goal: to brew beers that will compete with national brands. Like not craft-sized ambitions.

Kräftig has already brewed 7,200 barrels and has said they are aiming to hit 2 million barrels every year, the bulk of it at a brewing facility it plans to build in St. Louis within three years. The ultimate goal is to get into the 10-20 million barrel range, still a far cry from the 102 million barrels AB currently produces – but still not too shy of a goal for a brand new brand.

The price point will be near premium mainstream beer at about $6.70 a six pack.

The industry will be watching this strategy closely as major brands continue to decline while craft surges.

“This one is very different in that they’re not talking about growing slow and organically,” explained Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.


  1. dfalken says

    I had the privilege of trying that beer before it had a name and before it’s brewer could even speak about who the project was for. It’s actually very drinkable and tasty…or at least it was then when it was still a beta. It will be interesting to see where that project goes.

  2. jwalts says

    It seems the “I don’t get it” gene is dominant. Even if it’s a good beer, will it survive its mainstream marketing focus (combined with its mainstream-adverse name)? Best of luck, rich folks.


  3. Brewtopian says

    I think this project is a fools errand. Everyone knows that Bud/MillerCoors are in decline but for whatever reason brewers haven’t figured out that its the American lager that is at the root of it. At the same time that the big 3 are dropping imported lagers are also dropping like stones in the marketplace so I think its safe to say that American’s are loosing their taste (however slowly it might be) for fizzy, yellow and often skunky lagers.

    The segment that’s growing is craft and there’s hardly a lager amongst them. Why wouldn’t this guy use that money to go after a chunk of the craft segment and get ahead of the conversions. With the sort of marketing budget this guy has he could put up a real challenge to Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, the CBA and still whittle away at the Big 3.

    Those craft drinkers aren’t going to drink this beer more than once out of curiosity and the die hard lager drinkers aren’t going to switch from their favorite brands to another beer of the same style. Waste of time and money and is Kraftig is.