One of America's oldest breweries is going back to its roots to celebrate a milestone anniversary.
In a nod to its German heritage, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is collaborating with Hofbrau Munchen, the German brewery founded in 1589, to create "Leinenkugel's Anniversary Lager," in celebration of its 150th anniversary this year. As part of a yearlong celebration, the beer will be brewed both in Germany and in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
"It'll be the first time Leinenkugel's has been brewed in Germany for…seven generations, when my great, great, great grandfather last brewed beer," Dick Leinenkugel, president of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company and a fifth generation family member, told CNBC recently.
While the milestone anniversary puts the family's long-tradition front and center, history has never been lost on Dick Leinenkugel who often reflects on the sacrifices made by his ancestors. He invoked Jacob Leinenkugel's daughters, who mortgaged their homes so they could get the brewing equipment up and running again after prohibition.
Then there is his father, William, who presided over the brewery for over 40 years – including during the 1970's, when many smaller family owned and regional brewers were forced to close. At the time, larger breweries increased their scale and distribution footprint, squeezing out many of the smaller players.
"I think about what my dad did to compete during those times, making pennies on the case, but always investing back into the brewery in terms of quality and people, and keeping the local market strong," said Leinenkugel. "That's what really set us up for success now."