Baderbräu Chicago Pilsener makes return after decade-long hiatus

Baderbrau Chicago PilsenerUPDATE: Co-founder, Joe Berwanger, posted a comment below indicating that the AngelList profile was two years old, that they bootstrapped the project instead of taking on investors and are not looking to ‘flip’ the company.

(Chicago, IL) – It’s Chicago Craft Beer Week. So what better way to celebrate than with the return of Baderbräu Chicago Pilsener, a local brand founded nearly 25 years ago? Here is how the Baderbräu re-birth started according to

Noticing that no one had claimed the domain, Mr. Sama decided to register it. “I said, ‘What the heck? I’ll register it,’” he recalls. “At the time, I wasn’t thinking I would turn this into a business. I’ll put up a fan site or something.”

Later, when Mr. Sama checked on the Baderbräu trademark, he learned it had expired two months earlier. So he decided to grab that, too. Then he brought in Mr. Berwanger as a partner. They conducted a couple of surveys, learning that 40% of Chicago beer drinkers remembered Baderbräu — and many said they wanted it back.

Per the brand’s AngelList page, that isn’t quite right…

Our proprietary research shows that 25% of Chicagoland beer drinkers remember the beer, would like to see it back, and would pay a premium for it. We have acquired all rights to the brand and recipe, and are bringing the brand back. Our plan is to contract manufacture the beer and market and sell it in the Chicagoland area, eventually branching out to other Midwestern cities.

Maybe they are referring to two different surveys. No big deal. But then there is this…

Our research indicates that major beer producers pay between 2.5x and 3.8x sales for established craft brands.

So, is the company looking to stay independent for the long haul or looking to flip Baderbräu to the highest bidder? Only time will tell.

Also worth noting, Portsmouth Brewery and Smuttynose Brewing Founder and Owner, Peter Egelston, is listed as an advisor.

5 thoughts on “Baderbräu Chicago Pilsener makes return after decade-long hiatus

  1. Hey Adam – If you would take a moment to more carefully read the two statements about the survey, you’ll find the results do not contradict each other.

  2. Sounds like they are trying to brew it like Pavichevich did, which is great. The Goose version wasn’t nearly as good. Hopefully they bring back the Bock too. Now if only someone would bring back the old Chicago Brewing Company beers. Man, do I miss Big Shoulders Porter.

  3. I think most people would read those as the same results. So what you (or they) are saying is that 25% would pay a premium for it versus 40%? Now I’m interested to see how they price it.

  4. Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your interest in Baderbräu. I apologize for that confusing listing on AngelList. It is about two years old, and it includes our initial thoughts for how to bring back Baderbräu. Our plans have evolved a lot since then. And, yes, we conducted another more comprehensive survey in 2011 with the 40% result. I just updated the listing to clarify.

    Originally we were thinking of only contract brewing, and potential investors were asking us for a way to value the company. That’s where those multiple numbers come from. However, instead of seeking outside investors, Rob and I have funded this entire endeavor with our own money.

    Since then we’ve partnered with the Argus Brewery in Chicago and made a sizable investment to double their capacity to brew Baderbräu there. They are a great partner and make good quality beer. Currently we’re planning to grow our partnership with Argus and help them continue to expand.

    Let me be perfectly clear. We have no plans for selling Baderbräu. We love this beer, and we love the fans. We’re completely focused on product quality and making sure Baderbräu fans are happy.

    Hope we get the chance to share a cold Baderbräu Chicago Pilsener soon.


    Joe Berwanger
    Baderbrau Brewing Company

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