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Day 3: The Brewery Tours – Hofbrau

May 11, 2010

(My apologies – the pace of our trip picked up on Day 3 and connecting to the internet became more difficult, so the posts are very overdue. Thanks for your patience.)

Another misty morning in Munich. We left Munich city proper to visit the Hofbrau Brewery, in an industrial area outside the city. The facility that we visited was built about 15 years ago and was very modern and very impressive. Annual production at Hofbrau is about twice that of Harpoon, and as we learned yesterday, many of these breweries are relying on the export market for their growth. We were shown around the facility by a veteran brewer and met up with an old friend of Harpoon, Rudy, who we worked with back when Harpoon distributed Hofbrau in the Boston area a few years back.

Funny story, we are walking through the filtration area of the brewery, and who do we see – Johann, our tour guide from Ayinger, popped in. It appears that he, and probably our guide Ursala at Andechs, were professional guides who provide tours in English to visitors at the smaller breweries. Boy, oh boy, was he surprised to see us again.

The Hofbrau facility was impressive. The entire brewing facility was automated, everything from the brewhouse to cleaning. We saw a lot more employees running around and working in the bottling and distribution area, which was in a second building, and matched in size our entire building in Vermont. The bottling line was very familiar to us, most of the equipment was Krones. Harpoon Assistant VP of Brewing and resident bottling line expert Sean Cornelius appeared to hop in and start training the Hofbrau staff on the line.

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The second picture in the slideshow shows off one of the many Hofbrau mobile beer delivery units. Basically, this is a big keg on wheels. We all got very excited to see this vehicle, which delivers fresh Hofbrau to festivals and area events, and holds about 20 hectoliters. You just drive up, park, and tap! Needless to say, our wheels started turning about all of the uses that we would have for such a vehicle at Harpoon. Just say after me – mobile beer delivery unit! Very cool indeed.

Next stop: Erding

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