April 12, 2023
Glückliches 20-jähriges Jubiläum! Happy 20th Anniversary!
Written by Rachel Gyarmati
It’s April 2003 in a place called Newport, Kentucky.
The rises of pants are at an all-time low, and shoes are super chunky. Drivers under age 25 have a graduation tassel or fuzzy dice hanging from their rearview mirror. You may also have a Hawaiian lei displayed if you’re a super fun driver. The lei isn’t just fun; it’s a celebration of Spring and the upcoming Summer, so we hear. You know, from a friend.
Also happening in April 2003 was the opening of the first location of the Hofbräuhaus outside of Munich, Germany. Those who made it happen were excited to see one of the most significant German communities outside of Germany have a place to gather, enjoy German food, and express their heritage.
Those building the now iconic Hofbräuhaus Newport could also enjoy giving the neighborhood something to discuss. The internet wasn’t as accessible then, so you could watch a building go up for some time without knowing what it was. If you had information about what was happening or hot gossip on what businesses could bring, you had to wait until you got home to get online and post the news as your AIM away message.
A lot has happened in the 20 years since we opened our doors. This month’s blog will take a nostalgic trip to the opening of Hofbäuhaus Newport. Think TRL, pagers, and the melodic screech of your modem.
Bringing it to The People
Here are a few juicy bits of trivia that make our origin story much more enjoyable and will make you seem like a history buff. Who doesn’t like to be a “buff” at something?
VIP Only, Thank You
Although the original Hofbäuhaus opened its doors in 1589, it was only open to the royalty of then Bavaria. It wasn’t until 1828 that King Ludwig I of Bavaria opened the doors to the public. The decision to mix both royalty and the average citizen made Hofbräuhaus a cultural epi-center.
Just think: there was a time when you could be a regular citizen and have a Bier with a nobleman, Mozart, and your family. Yes, Mozart was an actual patron of the original Hofbräuhaus.
You may ask yourself why the royals needed their brewery and Biergarten. German/Bavarian Lore states that Duke V of Bavaria wasn’t the biggest fan of Munich Bier, so he recruited a member of the Wittelsbach, a noble family, to found a state brewery. One that wasn’t accessible to the general public. One can only imagine how fancy it must have felt to throw back a Stein when it opened.
Due to the original Hofbräuhaus being a “state-owned” brewery, to this day, the Hofbräuhaus brand itself is state property. It is a symbol of heritage and culture and a window into the authentic culture of Germany and Bavaria.
This fact makes it even more remarkable that the brand has been brought across the Atlantic. Nevertheless, the pressure to stay true to German culture and be embraced by a new country is very real.
The first Hofbräuhaus in America to succeed may be ours here in Newport, but it isn’t the first. The first location outside Munich was in New York City and opened in 1903. Unfortunately, the Law of Prohibition came to New York City and forced Hofbräuhaus to stop Bier sales. The lack of sales caused the Bier Hall to become a casualty of the Prohibition Era.
Qualität und Integrität (Quality and Integrity)
Hofbräuhaus Newport has, without a doubt, become a destination spot for Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati citizens. This blogger believes this is due to the dedication of its founders and the CEO of Hofbräuhaus to see that the atmosphere, food, uniforms, and of course, our amazing Bier is standard.
According to Managing Director Michael Möeller, steps are taken to ensure that no matter if you’re a patron in Germany or here in Newport, the food, atmosphere, and Bier stay true to quality.
- Dishes on the menu must be either American or German
- Bier is brewed per Reinheitsgebot or the German Purity Law
- Partners have been invited to Bavaria/Germany to see the atmosphere and the brand in action.
Being a stickler for quality and integrity is a pride point for us. After all, our patrons deserve nothing but the very best we can give them.
New businesses will often test the quality, integrity, and logistics by putting on a “soft opening” for their employees before the grand or “hard” opening to the public. A “soft opening” is when only a few people are invited to run a night of business. It’s a practice run if you will.
Newport Hofbräuhaus’s soft opening, though, was quite the event.
Trial by Fire
According to Eric Haas, partial owner of Hofbräuhaus Newport and Mayor of Ft. Thomas, Kentucky the soft opening was anything but. In an email, he shared,
“…I remember our “soft” opening, a small group to help our staff get trained. The media found out, and the line was backed outside across the street. It was packed! And everyone knew that you sat at the long tables and benches with strangers, and after a Bier or two, you became friends!”
Nick Ellison, our other founder and partial owner, shared that when designing the Bier hall and Biergarten, the place’s ambiance mirrored the Munich location. Hearing such a tall order had to have intimidated those looking to start a business in Newport, Kentucky.
Luckily for Nick (and us), the Hofbräuhaus Newport has grown with its community.
This blogger personally knows the thrill of meeting with friends after a sorority meeting for dinner, celebrating family events in the Bier hall, and now in the present time, having dinner with my kids at our favorite spot.
We’ve already begun to celebrate our 20th Anniversary, and we hope you and yours join us for an upcoming event. One of our first events is our keg tapping on May 1st. Although we have keg tappings every month, this one is different.
We will unveil our Jubiläum Lager, which we’re told will be a Marzen-style Vienna Lager. You didn’t hear it from us, but it’s supposed to be one of our best Lagers yet! We hope to see you there on May 1st!
Prost to you, our patrons, and staff! We couldn’t make it 20 years without you.