In the 17th century Stiegl was the biggest brewery in the area of Salzburg – but there were over 100 other small breweries which made their own recipe of beer. Another very important factor at this time took place in the taverns and encouraged the people to stay longer outside, drink their beer, eat well and of course chat. The tobacco was brought to Salzburg and people enjoyed to smoke, drink and chat.
In the 1780ies the most famous person of Salzburg started to drink Stiegl beer – Mozart. We know that, because it was mentioned in an entry of his sister Nannerl’s diary. The owner of Stiegl followed the custom among beer-brewing families to keep their children’s marriages exclusively within their professional’s circle. In 1765, Johann Ambros Elixhauser marries into the Kiener family. His family has also been part of Salzburg’s brewing circles. Elixhauser is a wealthy, successful businessman and the Stiegl Brewery flourished more than ever.
In the 1820ies the Stieglkeller – a still existing restaurant in Salzburg – was founded. This was also the time when Salzburg became part of Austria and was going through the time from a self-standing prince archbishop’s rule to a more provincial town. But the beer still flew 🙂
A time of ups and downs followed until the farmer and grain trader Franz Huemer had enough of this mismanagement. He took over at the Stiegl Brewery and put his nephew Heinrich Kiener in charge as director. Up to the present day a member of the Kiener family manages the private brewery.
In the year 1912 the Stiegl “Goldbräu” Märzen was registered as brand name and started his way over the world. It guarantees quality at the highest level and follows the old bavarian tradition of the “Reinheitsgebot” (more about it in the following text).
Of course the time of two world wars left their mark also in the company of Stiegl Brewery. During the times of the allied troops in Salzburg the lack of raw materials lead to a loss of quality. Of course this was not in the mind of the soldiers stationed in Salzburg. Therefore the Stiegl brewery got support from the US and high quality raw materials to brew a special american beer. So the citizens of Salzburg got their usual (at this time not so tasty Stiegl) and the soldiers their beer taste. Of course, when they were going back to the US they missed something – the Stiegl Ami Beer. Because of that event, until now one of the most important export markets of Stiegl is the US (behind Germany and Italy). So when back at home in the US, going to the restaurant or bar and finding the five red steps logo behind your bars, you know where it came from.
In 1954, Kiener brought Coca-Cola to Salzburg by founding the “Salzburger Getränkeindustrie” (Salzburg Beverages Industry). In its first year, the company produced and sold 100,000 crates of this caffeinated soft drink. In 2005 the most modern brewery was established in Salzburg. Nowadays the Stiegl brewery has over 600 employees and is a very well running company and it may be that the following patriarch of the Stiegl brewery is the first time in history a Lady, because in the following generation of family Kiener there a two girls and only one is interested in learning the business.
What really is the innovation at Stiegl? Since 2015 all their ingredients (except water) have been produced by themselves. We will come back to the raw materials in the next step connected with the “Reinheitsgebot”.