Bitburger: Germany's favorite brewery

Photo by Christoph Lischetzki
Photo by Christoph Lischetzki

Bitburger: Germany's favorite brewery

by Karen Bradbury
Stripes Europe

One of Germany’s biggest brewers finds its home in a rather out-of-the-way place: Bitburg, a small city in the Eifel mountain range in the western part of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Spangdahlem Air Base is one of its close neighbors.

The Bitburger Brewery, founded back in 1817, produces Germany's third-best selling beer overall and Germany’s number one draft beer, a point they stress in their marketing materials. The company slogan, the catchy “Bitte ein Bit,” or “A Bit, please,” has been around for well over half a century.

It took three legal battles in courts before Bitburg, in 1909, finally won the right to use the term Pilsner in describing this style of beer first developed by a Bavarian brewer in the Czech city of Pilsen in 1842.

The brewery takes great pride in having been a family business for seven generations and remaining in private ownership.

Visiting the brewery

To learn about how this beer comes into being, a visit to the Bitburger Marken-Erlebniswelt is in order. This state-of-the-art visitor center which opened in 2009 offers a thorough look at the brand history and brewing process from start to finish. The tour showcases an ultra-modern bottling facility and concludes with a tasting.

Photo by: Tobias Arhelger - Bitburger Brewery

The Erlebniswelt is located at Römermauer 3, 54634 Bitburg. It can be visited daily except for Mondays in its high season; for the remainder of the year, it’s closed on both Sundays and Mondays. It’s also closed on major German holidays. Tours begin on the hour and last about 60 minutes. Check opening hours online before traveling and inquire directly in regard to tours in English.

Adult tours cost 9 euros, ages 12-15 enter for 4 euros, and children 11 and younger can take advantage of free admission. The cost of entry includes two beverages of one’s choice, including alcohol-free options, and beer’s best friend, a pretzel.

Bitburger’s beers to try

Other Bitburger products available in addition to its Premium Pils include an alcohol-free Pils, a Radler beer and lemon soda mix, and an alcohol-free version of the Radler. There’s also an alcohol-free Grapefruit, and as of 2018, they also make a Kellerbier. Fasse Brause is a separate line of alcohol-free beverages available in the flavors of rhubarb and a type of herb known as woodruff. Their portfolio also includes a variety of beer and soft drink combinations.

The American Sierra Nevada Brewing plans to collaborate with Bitburger to create its 2019 special-edition Oktoberfest beer, which will be available in U.S. markets.

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