One thing is certain: brewing and selling craft beers is not simply a hobby or a profession. Craft beer is a sense of life.
You realise this immediately when you take a look at the website of the online shop in Hamburg
It’s operated by the city’s Ratsherrn Brewery. And they have not only provided this online shop, they also have a store directly in Hamburg’s Schanzenhöfen. This store is managed by Daniel Hertrich, a qualified Beer Sommelier and hobby brewer. And he was kind enough to tell me a bit about this craft beer store: about how the store and the online shop came into being, what they offer, and his personal favourite beer.
Ratsherrn is actually a brewery. What gave you the idea of opening a shop in which you also sell craft beers from other breweries and selling them online as well?
A proper brewery, of course, has a store of its own. However, we at Ratsherrn wanted to offer our customers not only our own beers, but the entire diversity that the craft sector produces. So the Craft Beer Store in Schanzenhöfen was opened in April . We started out with about different beers, and we meanwhile have more than craft beers in stock. Of our store’s entire assortment, at the moment about different beers are brewed by the Ratsherrn Brewery itself. Many of them are also exclusive fills from our in-house micro-brewery. I’m the store manager in Schanzenhöfen, with a team of 2 full-time staff and 8 temps. The online shop has meanwhile been up and running for about 2 years, while the relaunch with the new look was completed last year in November. At the moment the online shop is being managed by Ratsherrn’s Marketing Department.
What selection of craft beers are you offering?
We offer a comprehensive range of craft beers, featuring lots of national and international specialties in a visually attractive shop, and with down-to-earth descriptions that even newcomers to the craft beer scene will understands. In all, as I said, there are craft beers, sorted by styles. From a simple pilsner, hoppy IPAs and roasted-malt-flavoured stouts all the way through to out-of-the-ordinary Belgian lambics with genuine fruits, everyone can find their favourite beer in our shop. Among the most exciting options are cask-matured specialty beers, where storage in whisky barrels, for instance, enable entirely new aromas to be achieved.
What are the most popular beers?
Craft beer has strong regional roots, of course, and the online shop carries a different range from what’s on sale at the stationary store. The creative Ratsherrn beers are our best-sellers, naturally enough, thanks to their regional affiliations and the brewery being close by. They’re followed by the beers from BrewDog, Kreativbrauerei Kehrwieder and Braukunstkeller. Quite generally, there’s a discernible trend towards pale ales and IPAs.
Is most of the craft beer sold to dealers and the catering trade, or to private individuals?
The store in Schanzenhöfen and the online shop are intended primarily for private individuals. Our Hamburg Beer Company is responsible for sales and deliveries of craft beers to dealers and the catering trade.
How often does your assortment change, and how does a craft beer get accepted into your range?
The assortment changes every day! We have a very lively assortment, since craft beer fans, in particular, are always on the lookout for new beers and new flavours. The primary qualification for inclusion is doing well in the beer tasting sessions conducted by our team.
Have you yourself tasted every beer you’re selling?
I have in fact tasted % of the beers myself. I use a beer app to record them, and in the past two years I’ve tested about 1, different beers.
And which of them is your personal favourite?
The Ratsherrn Westküsten IPA is definitely my favourite. But my drinking habits are also very seasonal: in summer, I tend to go for the lighter less alcoholic beers, and in winter I prefer the heavy, dark varieties.
After these answers, I’ve been totally sold on this infectious passion for craft beer. In fact, I’m sorely tempted to take a trip to Hamburg myself!