Bitburger and Deschutes – It’s a Perfect Fit!

The passion for carefully selected, regional raw materials. The experience in the traditional craft of brewing spanning generations. The careful use of nature and our resources. And the courage to go off the beaten track and try something new. Although there is an entire ocean and miles of land between our two family-owned businesses, we still share many common values with our friends from Deschutes Brewery. Managing director and founder Gary Fisher’s brewery is also firmly in family hands and lays the foundation for a better future with innovative technology and a strong focus on sustainable production. And, just like us, Gary and his team leave nothing to chance when it comes to taste and rely on the purest brewing water, select malts, the best yeast, and first-rate hops to give their brews an unmistakable flavor. Bitburger and Deschutes – two family breweries, one passion!


Jan Niewodniczanski

Seventh-generation managing director of Bitburger Privatbrauerei and founder of Craftwerk Brewing

At as early as 16 years old, Jan Niewodniczanski finished his first internship at the Bitburger Brewery, sparking his passion for our beer and our green gold, the Bitburger-certified Siegelhopfen. After graduating from high school, he did various internships and traineeships in many German and American breweries (e.g. Anheuser-Busch) and then studied brewing and beverage technology at the Technical University of Munich. For two years, our brewing expert expanded his knowledge at Spaten brewery in the Bavarian capital city before he moved to South Africa (South Africa Breweries), the Philippines, and China (San Miguel Breweries). This was followed by an MBA in Cape Town and ten years as a brew master and as a line manager in Pretoria and Cape Town. In 2006, Jan took over as managing director of the Technology and the Environment department at Bitburger Braugruppe, following in the footsteps of his ancestors.

Hobbies: Mountain Biking, Surfing, Skiing and Snowboarding, Beer – “Making beer, making friends.”

Favorite beer style: Depending on the time of day as well as the season frame of mind – from classic Pilsner to hoppy IPAs to barrel-aged Tripel

Gary Fish

Founder and Chairman of Deschutes Brewery

Following his passion for creating the best beer, Gary Fish opened the Deschutes Brewery in 1988 and has inspired people beyond the borders of the US state of Oregon with his at times unusual creations over the years. Gary still lives for his brewery today and never grows tired of combining the traditional craft of brewing with special flavors, still working closely with product development to put his ideas into action.

Hobbys: Fishing, Golf

Favorite beer style: Black Butte Porter

Stefan Meyna

First Brew Master of the Bitburger Privatbrauerei and a creative brew fanatic

Stefan Meyna was born in Berlin-Spandau in 1972. From 1993 to 1999, the self-confessed hops fan studied brewing at the TU Berlin/VLB Berlin, earning his doctorate at Institut von Professor Wackerbauer in 2005. This was followed by various internships and consultancies for national and international breweries, as well as a whole series of publications and presentations at EBC and WBC congresses and symposia. After a brief stint in the fruit juice and flavor industry in northern Germany, Stefan Meyna went back to brewing: from 2007 to 2012, he worked as a department manager in quality control at König-Brauerei, before moving to Bitburg in 2012. Here, the qualified brew master is the main department manager for beer production.

Hobbies: Table Tennis, Brewing, Biking, Literature and Films, Travel, and my family’s dogs and horses  

Favorite beer style: Definitely Pilsner – “The more bitter the better” – but I do enjoy a Bavarian Hefeweizen or English Stout

Nele Gänz

Head of the Bitburger pilot brewery and a real hops expert

Nele Gänz, a native of the town of Wittlich in the Eifel region of Germany, graduated from Trier University of Applied Sciences in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree (B.Eng.) in food technology and in 2016 with a master’s degree (M.Eng.) in food economy. In 2017, she started her doctorate in the technology and R&D department of Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH in Ludwigsburg in cooperation with the TU Berlin and Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. Here, the passionate hop expert was in charge of the isomerization of hops alpha acids as well as the losses iso-alpha acids that occur during wort production in the brewhouse. In 2020, she started at the Bitburger Braugruppe, where Nele can put her creative ideas into action as head of the pilot brewery.

Hobbies: Cooking, Baking, Traveling, Working with wood

Favorite beer style: It depends on the season – Lager, New England IPA, Bockbier

Scott Birdwell

Head Brewer and a real hops fan

Scott studied brewing at UC Davis and graduated from the widely acclaimed Master Brewers Certificate Program there. After graduating in 2008, the current head brewer gained his first experiences and moved to Deschutes Brewery in 2009, where he has been able to fully delve into to his passion for the brewing ingredient hops ever since. In our collaboration, Scott primarily oversees the brewing operations, ensuring that every little detail is right in the final result.

Hobbys: Snowboarding, Trail Running, Mountainbiking, Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Golfing

Favorite beer style: Stout

Jessica Cruzan

Head Brewer and organizatinal talent

Following her passion for the best beer, Jessica gained her first brewing experience after graduating, before the passionate brewer went to Deschutes Brewery in 2019. Here, she doesn’t just have the role of head brewer, but also works with us to ensure that the final recipe for our Collaboration Brew is ultimately put into production on a grand scale.

Hobbys: Reading, Bowling

Favorite beer style: Dark Lager

Veronica Vega

Director of Product Development and creative recipe developer

Since 2006, Veronica has known exactly what is important when it comes to brewing beer. It’s no coincidence that the passionate brewer holds a Master Brewers degree from UC Davis and sets the tone in the brewery in her role as director of product development. In addition to project management, Veronica is also brings her creative ideas to the table in our collaboration, especially in the area of recipe development.

Hobbys: Mountainbiking, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding, Reading

Favorite beer style: Saison

Jeff Johnson

Director of Product Development and jack-of-all-trades

Jeff loves and lives for brewing. There’s a good reason that the passionate head brewer of the pilot brewery has been working with hops, malt, and co. since 2015 to constantly bring his creative ideas into the brewing mix. In addition to recipe development, Jeff is primarily responsible for selecting the various ingredients in our collaboration.

Hobbys: So many. Woodworking, Cooking, Fermenting, Fishing, Hunting, and many more.

Favorite beer style: Not an easy one ... Pilsner, Pale Ale – there are so many good styles!