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Day 2: The Brewery Tours – Ayinger

May 5, 2010

Our third and final brewery of the day was Ayinger Brewery. This brewery has been owned and operated by 7 generations of the same family. It is the largest employer in the town of Ayinger. They made a massive investment back in the 1990s and built a brand new, state-of-art brewery.

One warning for travellers – not all of these breweries offer regular public tours like Harpoon does for the general public. We were able to access the Ayinger Brewery because we are in the industry. It was surprising to me that regular tours were not part of the deal at these breweries. Our guide at Ayinger, Johann, poured ‘unmature’ beer, beer that has been fermenting but is not completely conditioned, straight from the conditioning tanks. Next time you take a brewery tour at Harpoon, you get this same experience.

During his introduction to the brewery, Johann discussed the landscape of the beer industry in Germany and how many of the breweries have been purchased by large conglomerates like AB InBEV and Heineken Group. There are not many independent breweries left in the country. Johann was very proud of Ayinger’s independence. Both Andechs and Ayinger were about the same production volume as Harpoon, focused on local sales, sales through their beer gardens, and exporting to select countries in Europe and the US. Both breweries said that they were quite popular in Italy, due to the German tourists that travel there.

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Johann also mentioned that Ayinger was rated at 96 by the BeerAdvocate while highly regarded German brewer Augustiner scores a 92. For all of us Harpooners, who know the Alstroms brothers and have known of the BeerAdvocate site since the early days, it was a very cool moment to be talking to a German brewer at his Bavarian brewery and hearing him brag about their BeerAdvocate score. Very cool shout out for the Brothers!

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