“There can be only one”, is what many beer drinkers from Munich will tell you, whether it’s the old grumpy man in lederhosen at the Augustiner-Keller in Maxvorstadt or the students keeping their beer cold in the Isar River at an Isar beach party. Augustiner beer is the most popular beer of the city and there are many interesting stories to tell about why things are like this. One of the most interesting ones is that Augustiner does not advertise, another one is that it is currently managed by an offspring of a master brewer who grew up on the Augustiner compound, and is a brewer himself. The company is also the only one whose beer sold at their tent at the Oktoberfest comes from wooden barrels. Last but not least, Augustiner is the oldest (and with state-owned Hofbräu – the only) remaining major Munich brewery which hasn’t been bought up by one of the world’s leading beer conglomerates.
The brewery will probably remain independent in the future. It is to 51 per cent owned by the charitable foundation Edith-Haberland-Wagner-Stiftung, the rest is owned by the family. The foundation invests its profits mainly in culture and social projects within Munich.
The AugustinerBräu brewery was founded by Austin friars (Augustinian monks) in 1328 within the city’s walls and was first nationalised in 1803. Shortly after that it was privatised. The JW initials on the label stand for Joseph Wagner who took the company over from his mother and under whose management the brewery flourished.
Augustiner Bräu operates a beer tent at the Oktoberfest and owns one of Munich's largest beer gardens, the Augustiner-Keller at Arnulfstraße 52, as well as several traditional bars throughout the city. Most of the brewed beer is sold in and around Munich, but in recent years it has also become popular at bars in trendy Berlin-Mitte.
An interesting fact is that Augustiner Bräu produces some 1.2 million hectolitres of beer, most of which is sold around Munich, while the better known Löwenbräu only sells some 0.3 million hectolitres in Germany. Augustiner Bräu only employs some 350 people.
Tip: if you pour your regular Augustiner beer in a glass yourself, do it fast and foamy (!) for it to lose some of the CO2.