More than 200 Years of Brewing Tradition

The steps of a success story

From the former land brewery to one of the most important private breweries in Germany - come with us on a journey through time and find out which special events, developments and decisions have shaped the success story of our family company.

1817

The Start of a Success Story

Johann Peter Wallenborn opens a small rural brewery in the town of Bitburg in 1817.

1842

Ludwig Bertrand Simon Takes Over

Ludwig Bertrand Simon marries Elisath Wallenborn, the daugther of Johann Peter Wallenborn, and takes over the brewery.

1877

Annual Output Exceed 1,000 Hectoliters

1877, the annual output is exceeding 1,000 hectoliters for the first time.

1880

Bottled Beer Opens Up New Sales Channels

In 1880, the Bitburger beer was bottled for the first time. The bottles, closed with a cork, open up new sales channels.

1883

The First Pilsner-Style Beer

On January 15, 1883, Theobald, grandson of Johann Peter Wallenborn, brewed the first brew in the Pilsen way.

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The bottom-fermentation brewing process was developed in Pilsen (in the Czech Republic). It features cold conditioning and ageing at low temperatures over a longer period.

1886

First Beer Export

In 1886, the first beer export going by horse-drawn cart to Echternach in Luxembourg.

1891

10,000 Hectoliters of Annual Output

The brewery's annual output increases to 10,000 hectoliters.

1896

First Ammonia Refrigeration System

In 1896, the brewery purchased a second steam engine to meet the increasing energy requirements. This also enables the introduction and operation of the first ammonia refrigeration system.

1909

The First Deep Well Pumps Water with a Depth of 100 Meters

In 1909, the first deep-water well was put into operation on the brewery site, which pumps water from a depth of 100 meters.

1909

First Big Advertising Campaign

On February 8th, Bitburger produces its ‘Simonbräu German Pilsner‘ for the first time. With this new product, the brewery launches its first large-scale advertising campaign.

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In addition to adverts in national newspapers, beer mats are a big medium for advertising the brand and product.

1910

Railways Come to Bitburg

After Bitburg was connected to the rail network, the brewery bought insulated rail carriages for transporting beer to ensure beer kept its quality even over long distances.

1913

Pilsner Pioneers in Germany

The “Pilsen judgment” decides: The Bitburger brewery can continue to call their beer “Simonbräu-Deutsch-Pilsener” (Simonbräu German Pilsner). The denomination of origin “Pilsener” becomes a variety denomination.

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This put an end to two years of legal battles with breweries in Pilsen (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) over the use of the designation of origin, Bitburger could finally sell their beer using the terms ‘Pilsner’ and ‘Pils’.

1921

Own Brewery Laboratory

The first company laboratory is set up to guarantee consistently high quality.

1927

First Sponsorship

At the opening of the Nürburgring, Bitburger is active for the first time as a sports sponsor and serves Bitburger Pils.

1929

The Bitburger „Connoisseur“

In 1929, the "connoisseur" developed by graphic artist G. H. Heimig entered the advertising stage and is a guarantee of the highest quality.

1937

Gold Medal for the Bitburger Pils

Bitburger receives the golden medal at the World Exhibition in Paris. The Bitburger beer fountain is inaugurated in the same year.

1938

Beer Output Increases to over 100,000 Hectoliters

From the mid-1930s, the brewery saw enormous demand for Bitburger Pils. The sales mark exceeds 100,000 hectoliters for the first time.

1944

War and Destruction

Around the end of the Second World War, the town of Bitburg and the Bitburger brewery was almost completely destroyed.

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The brewing facilities are all destroyed, leaving nearly all wooden barrels completly unusable. Reconstruction begins immediately after the end of the war.

1949

Finally Real Bitburger Again

For the first time after the second world war, the brewery is able to brew beer properly again. Production increases to 55,000 hectolitres.

1950

New Markets

The first post-war exports are shipped to Luxembourg and French-administered Saar region in 1950, then the following year to Brussels and Haiti as well!

1951

‘Bitte ein Bit‘

At the most important trade fair of the food industry (ANUGA in Cologne), Bitburger reveals its new advertising slogan ‘Bitte ein Bit‘ (‘One Bit, please‘), one of the best-known advertising slogans in the German brewing industry.

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The sound of the German phrase catches on quickly, and Dr. Theobald Simon used his own handwriting for the slogan logo to give the lettering a distinctive character.
In the same year, more hygenic bottle caps started to replace the traditional swing top.

1955

Bitburger on TV

Bitburger creates its first adverts for TV and the cinema.

1958

A New Brewhouse Is Built

In 1958, the construction of a new brewhouse became necessary, which went into full operation in March of the following year.

1964

New Highlights with the Bit Glass

The ‘Bit-Pokal‘ (Bitburger glass) is created, which was the first speciality glassware of the brewing industry for gastronomy. The glass features a well-proportioned cup shape with a hexagonal stem, complementing the unique character of Bitburger Pils.

1971

Bitburger Pils Becomes a Single Brand

The brewery reduces the range of varieties and concentrates to one brand: Bitburger Pils.

1973

A Million Hectoliters

Annual output reaches one million hectoliters. The foundation stone for a new brewery is laid in the South of Bitburg.

1975

First Brew in the New Brewhouse

Bitburger starts brewing operations in the south of Bitburg.

1987

Taking the Lead

The new Bit-Premium-module crate with extra large advertising space is launched. Bitburger produces more than 2.38 million hectolitres of beer in a single year, making it one of the most important beer brands in Germany.

1990

The Experimental Brewery Sets Standards

The new experimental brewery, known as Craftwerk Brewing since 2013, goes into operation and Bitburger is Germany's largest beer brand.

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This small-scale brewing facility develops new styles of beer, tests malt from new varieties of barley, and breeds new strains of hops – as well as constantly striving to improve brewing methods and processes. It serves as an important part of our comprehensive quality management efforts. 

The brewery distributes its products to more than 30 countries, including Finland, Novorossiya and Australia.

1991

Takeover of the Köstritzer Black Beer Brewery

In 1991 the brewery acquired the Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei in Bad Köstritz, Thuringia (East of Germany).

1992

No.1 Draft Beer Brand and Launch of Drive and Light

The new varieties Bitburger Drive Non-Alcoholic and Bitburger Light are launched.

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In the same year, Bitburger first appeared as a partner of the DFB (German Football Association) and became Germany's number one draft beer brand. Still to today, there is no other draft beer that is poured in German bars more often.

1994

Revision of the Outdoor Advertising

With a new outdoor advertising Bitburger creates a uniform appearance in the gastronomy. In the same year, the brewery supported the Benetton Formula 1 team with Michael Schumacher.

1998

Relocation of Production Completed

The relocation of production to the south of Bitburg has been completed. The brewing operation in the north of the town comes to an end after 180 years.

2002

Takeover of the Wernesgrüner Brewery

In 2002, Bitburger took over the Wernesgrüner brewery.

2004

Acquisition of König Brewery and Licher Private Brewery

Bitburger acquires the König brewery and the Licher private brewery. The company also introduces the new premium crate.

2005

A Growing Family of Products

Bitburger Radler is introduced: a beer-based mixed drink made with Bitburger Premium Pils and sparkling lemonade. Produced without any artificial additives, our Radler is an incomparable, sparkling-fresh beverage that’s not too sweet.

2007

Strong Brands in a Network

The five traditional brands Bitburger, König Pilsener, Köstritzer, Wernesgrüner and Licher have been operating under the umbrella of Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH since the beginning of 2007.

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100% flavour, 0.0% alcohol: Bitburger 0.0% Drive Alcohol-free is launched. One of the only beers in Germany, that is actually 0.0% alcohol whilst still boasting a great pilsner taste.

2009

Bitburger Brand Experience World Opens

The Bitburger brand experience world opens. Here, visitors can find out everything worth knowing about the Bitburger brand and the brewery.

2011

Distribution Rights for Benediktiner Weissbier

The Bitburger brewing group takes over the distribution rights for Benediktiner Weissbier (wheat beer) on behalf of Benediktiner Weißbräu GmbH.

2015

Revision of the Bitburger Label

Bitburger introduces a further developed label design for all products.

2016

"Best Beer in Terms of the Best, Unique Taste"

Step by step: Bitburger stages the new Bitburger outdoor advertising, starting in Germany, in the brand colors gold and white to underline the quality of the Bitburger brand.

2017

200 Years of Bitburger

Bitburger celebrates its 200th birthday.

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Founded back in 1817, the Bitburger Brewery is now one of the most important privately owned breweries in Germany. Our core values have always remained the same though: care, love and passion for brewing. These values support our consistently high quality standards.

2018

Revision of the Bitburger Packaging

Bitburger introduces a further developed packaging design for all products and launches Bitburger Radler naturtrüb in the US the following year.

2019

Collaboration with Sierra Nevada

Making beer, making friends: The shared passion of brewing beer of the best flavor and highest quality has forged a natural partnership between the Bitburger Brewery and the Sierra Nevada Brewery.