The Brewer’s Association’s definition of craft beer is meant to be a guide for consumers to navigate the ever-expanding craft and “crafty” beer selections at their local liquor store, bars, and restaurants. But for New Ulm, Minnesota’s August Schell Brewing, the definition’s strict stipulations that a brewery be “Small,” “Independent,” and “Traditional” to be considered “craft,” often leaves America’s second-oldest family owned brewery on the outside looking in.
August Schell’s use of adjuncts to brew some of their traditional German recipes (developed when sourcing ingredients was a much greater challenge than today) landed them on the Brewers Association “Non-Craft Brewer” 2012 chart. The designation was met with indignation from August Schell, who released a statement on the “craft” versus “crafty divide, defending the brewery’s dedication to its brewing traditions.
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Today, August Schell announced the formation of a new genre of beer called German Craft. Perhaps in response to the craft beer definition that left them out in the cold, Schell’s is celebrating its 154 year history of brewing German Craft styles with the roll out of a brand new website. Prominently displayed on the top of the schellsbrewery.com homepage is the new tagline, “We Are German Craft Beer.”
Scroll through the brewery’s history page and you’ll soon find out the tagline is more than just kitschy slogan: it’s the family heritage stretching all the way back to August Schell’s birth in the Black Forest of Durbach, Germany in 1828. “Beyond a refreshing beverage, beer drinkers are looking for a good story in their bottle,” said Ted Marti, President of Schell’s, and a fifth generation member of the brewing family. “We’ve got that covered — 154 years of deep tradition, history, variety and innovation all rooted in our German heritage.”