The Salzburger Land is not only said to be very beautiful but is also one of the most interesting culinary regions in Austria – not least thanks to its specialty beers. And they have a name: Stiegl. Stieglbrauerei has been based here since 1492. The brewery is named after a tiny flight of steps adjacent to it (a ’Stiege’, hence ’Stiegl’). Although these stairs no longer exist, the red stairs in the coat of arms have become the symbol of the brewery’s origin and mission statement of its actions.
“As expected, we’re extremely satisfied with KHS kegging technology.”
“The art of brewing at the highest level” is what current owner Dr. Heinrich Kiener pledges to practice. “In an age of increasing standardization, our aim is to uphold the art of brewing and endeavor to produce a range of high-quality beers,” he says. This philosophy has made Stiegl Austria’s leading privately-run brewery – not least because its 700 employees live and breathe the company motto day in, day out.
Since 2012, for instance, the brewery has only used locally sourced ingredients, the quality of which is assured through long-term contracts with farmers. The Stiegl craft brewery only uses organically grown ingredients in its beers. Stiegl’s holding in Wildshut, the first brewery farm in Austria, grows its own original crops for this purpose, such as Alpine barley, spelt, emmer wheat, and black oats. These ingredients are added to Stiegl’s beers in a cross between a malthouse and roasting house in Wildshut, which is unique the world over.
Master brewer Christian Pöpperl tells us more. “If you want to credibly practice the art of brewing at the highest level, it’s important to keep presenting the consumer with innovative specialty beers.” Stiegl has over 20 different brews in its range, among them Austria’s favorite beer, Stiegl Goldbräu. With a sales share of 85% Stiegl Goldbräu is the top seller and also Austria’s most popular Märzen. Stiegl’s wheat beer, introduced in 2011, worked its way up to number two in the Stiegl portfolio in the space of just two years. Exotic sounding innovations, such as Männerschokolade (“men’s chocolate”), Zölibat (“celibacy”) and Gmahde Wiesn (“mown meadow”) bear witness to the traditional brewery’s sense of invention.
A company who sets such great store by sound craftsmanship and that extra-special taste of course wants its beers to reach consumers without any loss of quality. This is why Stiegl regularly invests in upgrades for its equipment and has trusted in KHS engineering for decades.
A few years ago a KHS glass line commissioned in 1984 was modernized and two KHS bottle washers were procured. A KHS keg line, which had been providing loyal service since 1987, was the next machine up for replacement. Says master brewer Pöpperl, “We were always extremely happy with these systems. It was thus perfectly clear that when we recently invested in a replacement, it had to again be KHS technology.”
All of the components on the new kegging line are state of the art, starting with the Innocheck KIL which inspects kegs using laser technology and automatically ejects foreign or deformed containers. Marco Kaulas, manager of filling and packaging technology, remarks, “This has noticeably boosted our line availability.” The kegs then pass through the Innokeg AK exterior keg washer which meets the highest demands for hygiene.
The heart of the system is formed by three Innokeg Transomat 5/1 DUOs. The decisive advantage of these machines is that during washing, sterilizing and racking they minimize the oxygen and gas pickup in the product to such an extent that the high product quality is maintained. They are also ecologically sound in their exemplary use of water, wastewater and energy and save up to 40% CO₂ over conventional systems. “Respectful treatment of natural resources takes top priority here at Stiegl,” states Kaulas. “KHS technology perfectly meets this requirement.”
Racked kegs are sent to the full keg scales. In the next stage in the process a camera checks whether there are any leaks in the fitting. ’Bad’ kegs are channeled out automatically. ’Good’ kegs have their fittings sealed with a protective cap and are coded by inkjet. We come back to Pöpperl who claims, “We’re more than satisfied with our new keg line, not just because we’ve increased our old kegging capacity to up to 540 kegs per hour but also because it gives us plenty of flexibility for more variants in the future and for the use of transponder technology.”
Countless investments had to be made to turn Stiegl into one of the most modern breweries in Europe and create the technical wherewithal to produce quality without compromise. This wasn’t an end in itself, of course, for the people at Stieglbrauerei know that beer isn’t drunk merely to quench your thirst but also out of a sense of enjoyment. For connoisseurs of fine beer the stairway to beer heaven starts on a tiny flight of red steps in Salzburg in Austria.
Brief portrait: Stieglbrauerei in Salzburg
Stiegl beers have won hundreds of awards over the years. The German Agricultural Society (DLG) presents Stiegl beers with gold medals every year. Wildshuter Sortenspiel also won silver in 2014 at the prestigious World Beer Cup.
- 1492 The brewery is founded and has been family-owned since then
- 1990 Dr. Heinrich Kiener is made head of the brewery
- 1995 Stiegl-Brauwelt, a 5,000-square-meter visitors’ center dedicated to beer, is opened
- 2012 All ingredients for Stiegl beer come from Austria
- 2013 The first brewery farm in Austria is opened with the Stiegl farm at Wildshut. Stiegl becomes a member of Slowbrewing, the renowned club for quality brewers
- Brewed all year round:
Stiegl Goldbräu, Stiegl Paracelsus Zwickl, Stiegl light, Stiegl pilsner, Stiegl Spezial, Stiegl lemon shandy, Stiegl grapefruit shandy, Stiegl naturally hazy wheat beer, Stiegl elderberry wheat beer, Stiegl sport wheat beer, Stiegl Freibier
- Seasonal beers:
Stiegl Braujuwelen, Stiegl original bock, Ruprecht Glühbier, Stiegl Herbstgold
- Vintage beers:
Stiegl Sonnenkönig, Double IPA
- House beers:
Wildshuter Sortenspiel, Zölibat, Männerschokolade, Christkindl Honigbier, Gipfelstürmer, Nachtschwärmer, Weltenbummler, Gmahde Wiesn, Schneeweißchen and Orangenrot
Your contact on this topic
Managing Director KHS Austria
KHS Austria GmbH, Wiener Neudorf, Austria
Phone: +43 2236 62510
kegging global product account manager
KHS GmbH, Bad Kreuznach, Germany
Phone: +49 671 852-2977