Beer powder from Brandenburg

A revolution on the beer market? It is not yet entirely clear what will become of the brand-new product development from the Neuzeller Klosterbrauerei in Brandenburg. Will the driest beer in the world pulverize the existing beer market? Managing Director Stefan Fritsche’s idea hits the nerve of the times and is likely to get on the nerves of the established large breweries. In terms of taste, the beer powder is still far from being ready for the market. What is impressive, however, is the resource-saving approach: instead of glass bottles and liquid, only beer powder is transported, which only turns into beer at its destination.

Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle (links) mit Barockkloster Neuzelle. Die Brauerei blickt auf 400 Jahre Geschichte zurück / © Foto: Georg Berg
Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle (left) with Neuzelle Baroque Monastery. The brewery looks back on 400 years of history / © Photo: Georg Berg

Beer without brewing process

Since reunification and the takeover by the Fritsche family, the product range of the Neuzelle Monastery Brewery has expanded considerably. In addition to Neuzeller Pilsner and the bestseller Schwarzer Abt, a black beer with a long tradition, there is a large selection of craft beers such as Kirschbier with the cherry mother juice of the sour cherry or an anti-aging beer with the addition of brine water, algae and flavonoids.

Stefan Fritsche vor den Schlagzeilen des 13 Jahre dauernden Bierkriegs, einem Rechtsstreit, den sein Vater von 1993 bis 2005 erfolgreich gegen das Land Brandenburg bestritten hat / © Foto: Georg Berg
Stefan Fritsche in front of the headlines of the Beer War, a legal battle his father successfully fought against the state of Brandenburg from 1993 to 2005 / © Photo: Georg Berg

As a plaintiff, the Neuzelle monastery brewery had already won the production of special beers against the state of Brandenburg in 2005 in a legal dispute that lasted 13 years, the so-called Beer War. But how times change. The state of Brandenburg, which was once the defendant, has now become a promoter of the beer powder idea. Stirred with water, the powder recreates the perfect beer taste. The basic ingredients malt, hops, yeast, but also oxygen and alcohol are to be contained once in the powder. Together with water, a drinkable beer is then created. In the vision of Stefan Fritsche, who has taken over the management of the Neuzell Monastery Brewery from his father, the powder is to be a variable basic substance in which the taste, hoppiness and alcohol content can be adjusted. The classic brewing process is eliminated.

Stefan Fritsche, Geschäftsführer der Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle, rührt das trockenste Bier der Welt an. Aus Bierpulver und Wasser wird Bier / © Foto: Georg Berg
Stefan Fritsche stirs the driest beer in the world. Beer powder and water become beer / © Photo: Georg Berg

Dry beer to combat climate change

Stefan Fritsche wears the slogan for the new way of making beer in gold letters on a black hoodie. Dryest Beer – brewing – for Nature. The feasibility study, which was completed in early 2023, was funded by the EU and the state of Brandenburg. By saving on transportation, a significant contribution against climate change is obvious. 500 ml of liquid is compared with 45 g of powder. The powder accounts for only about ten percent of a bottle’s contents. Delivery costs and volume are significantly reduced. “Glass and water remain on site,” says Stefan Fritsche, “the time is ripe to put classic beer production and its logistics to the test.” In cooperation with research institutes in Austria and Finland, the first batches have now been produced that prove the feasibility of a beer powder. Stefan Fritsche is optimistic. In addition to criticism and reservations, there are also initial voices from the brewers’ association, which at least describe the idea as interesting.

Stefan Fritsche mit frisch angerührtem Bierpulver. Die Produktinnovation aus der Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle denkt den Bierprozess neu und besticht durch klimafreundliche Argumente beim Transport / © Foto: Georg Berg
Stefan Fritsche with freshly mixed beer powder. The product innovation from the Neuzelle monastery brewery rethinks the beer process and impresses with climate-friendly arguments for transport / © Photo: Georg Berg

A giga factory á la Tesla?

Stefan Fritsche is now looking for investors for the next steps. His plan is to build a giga-factory in the style of Amazon or Tesla. The goal, says Fritsche, is to export the beer powder around the world and compete with the big beer brands. Media interest in the beer powder from Neuzelle is already huge. Inquiries from all over the world are reaching him as if he had found the formula for turning lead into gold. In October 2022, he experienced an almost distopic situation, says Fritsche. It was the height of uncertainty in questions of energy supply. Worried that the Neuzelle monastery brewery would soon have to stop production for lack of affordable energy, he went public with his product innovation earlier than planned.

Bier angerührt aus Bierpulver. Die Schaumkrone ist stabil, der Geschmack noch nicht ganz rund. Die Produktidee besticht vor allem durch klimafreundliche Argumente beim Transport / © Foto: Georg Berg
Beer stirred from beer powder. The head is stable, the taste not yet completely round / © Photo: Georg Berg

Research and market readiness

The precious beer powder, into the production of which 400,000 euros in research funds have gone, is running low. Accordingly, Stefan Fritsche doses the tasting quantities per glass sparingly. This batch still lacks the components alcohol and oxygen. Fritsche helps the latter with a milk frother. First, the powder floats on the water. In addition to a balanced taste, Stefan Fritsche admits that work still needs to be done to improve solubility. But he and his brewmaster Peik Schauermann are optimistic. In the near future, all the necessary beer ingredients will be combined in one powder and will shake up the international beer market.

Stefan Fritsche, Geschäftsführer der Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle. Unter seinem Jacket deutet sich eine Revolution an. Die Entwicklung eines Bierpulvers, das er als Dryest Beer brewing for Nature, bezeichnet, soll den Biermarkt verändern / © Foto: Georg Berg
Under his jacket, Stefan Fritsche hints at a revolution. The development of a beer powder, which he calls Dryest Beer brewing for Nature, is set to change the beer market / © Photo: Georg Berg

Stefan Fritsche is clearly enjoying developing this disruptive technology for the beer market and is looking forward to challenging the established big players. Tesla, he says, was also ridiculed at first. It will take at least another year before it is ready for the market, he estimates. The next step on the road to becoming a big player in a reimagined beer market is getting investors on board. Taste will decide whether beer powder without a brewing process will replace current manufacturing processes. Price will not decide this battle, as the purchase price of powder beer and bottled beer will be comparable. Definitely, the powder beer will have the far leaner CO2 footprint on its way to the consumer. The prototype from the Neuzelle monastery brewery, which Stefan Fritsche spontaneously brewed in the office, already has a stable head and the basic taste of the beer can be guessed at.

Our mode of operation is characterized by self-experienced, well-researched text work and professional, vivid photography. For all stories, travel impressions and photos are created in the same place. Thus, the photos complement and support what is read and carry it further.

Never miss new Tellerrand-Stories again! Mithilfe eines Feed-Readers lassen sich die Information über neue Blogartikel in Echtzeit abonnieren With the help of a feed reader, all stories about the Tellerrand (edge of the plate) can be subscribed to in real time.

Food topics on Tellerrand-Stories
Permalink of the original version in German: