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Beck's Brewery, also known as Brauerei Beck & Co., is a German brewery in the northern German city of Bremen. Beck's is the world's best selling German beer, sold in nearly 90 countries (although no longer brewed exclusively in Germany). Owned by local families until February 2002, the Beck's brewery was then sold to Interbrew for 1.8 billion euro. The largest markets for Beck's outside Germany are the United Kingdom, the USA, Italy, Australia, Ukraine, Romania and Russia. Beck's ranks fifth among Germany's best selling breweries. Beck's in Bremen is the logistic German Headquarters of InBev. All advertising and logistics for the companies owned by InBev Germany is steered from there for this market.
The brewery was formed under the name Kaiserbrauerei Beck & May o.H.G. in 1873 by Lüder Rutenberg, Heinrich Beck and Thomas May. In 1875, Thomas May left the brewery which then became known as Kaiserbrauerei Beck & Co.
Beck's logo, a silver key on a red shield, is the mirror image of the coat of arms of Bremen. Since Beck's is located on the river of a port city, it was easy to ship out its product to the world at large. Beck's is known for its pilsner consisting of two-row, spring barley from the south of England, yeast, crystal water from the "Rotenburger Rinne" and Hallertau hops from southern Germany.
Although Beck's marketing material claims that it follows the strict Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516 by the Duke Albrecht the Fifth of Bavaria, as with virtually all modern beers, cultured yeast is an ingredient, which was later approved in an amendment to the original purity law. Beck's was the first German beer company to use green bottles, while in the United States it was the first to be served in 24oz bottles now known as bombers. The term bomber is taken from Beck's early advertising where the 24oz bottle is referred to as a Beck's bomber.
The St. Pauli Girl Brewery is housed within the Brewery in Bremen. Although Beck's and St. Pauli Girl beers are very similar in nature, the latter has only recently begun to be sold in Germany.
The main brand is Beck's which has for many years also been brewed under license in Namibia, which prior to World War I was a German colony. It is also today brewed internationally in a number of other countries. In Germany itself, the Spatenbräu-Löwenbräu Group in Munich is producing Beck's Beer for the markets in southern Germany and southern Europe.
Although Beck's in the UK was formerly imported from Germany, as of 2014 it is brewed in the UK, despite "German Brewing Heritage" and "Bremen, Germany" appearing prominently on the front of Beck's bottles.
- Beck's - the main brand, a German-style pilsner
- Haake Beck - a beer produced for the Bremen region
- Haake Beck Kräusen - very select product with extra yeast added after fermentation (only sold on tap within the city of Bremen)
- Beck's Blue (Alcohol Free)
- Beck's Premier Light
- Beck's Gold
- Beck's Green Lemon
- Beck's Green Lemon Alcohol Free
- Beck's Chilled Orange
- Beck's Twisted Orange
- Beck's Level 7
- Beck's Lime
- Beck's Ice
- Beck's Asia
- Beck's NEXT
- Beck's Dark
- Beck's Oktoberfest (only U.S. Market -forbidden in Germany because it is not brewed by a Munich Brewery)
- Beck's VIER
- Beck's Sapphire
- St. Pauli Girl (rarely sold in Germany)
World Beer Cup Awards
The following awards have been given to Beck's Brewery from the World Beer Cup.
|Gold||Beck's||Beck & Co.||German-Style Pilsener||1998|
|Bronze||Beck's Light||Brauerei Beck & Co.||European-Style Low-Alcohol Lager/German-Style Leicht||2000|
|Silver||Beck's Light||Brauerei Beck & Co.||European-Style Low-Alcohol||2002|
|Gold||Beck's Oktoberfest||Brauerei Beck & Co.||German-Style Märzen/Oktoberfest||2002|
|Silver||Beck's Light||Beck & Co.||European-Style Low-Alcohol Lager/German-Style Leicht||2004|
|Silver||Beck's Premier Light||Brauerei Beck & Co.||European-Style Low-Alcohol Lager/German-Style Leicht (bier)||2012|
The Beck's Art Label Campaign offers artists the opportunity to provide designs to replace the brand's label. It started in London in 1987 with Gilbert and George. The artists created an art label, because Beck's sponsored their retrospective at the Hayward Gallery. The labels of the 2000 limited edition Beck's bottles were matching their exhibition poster.
It is noticeable, that many other participants of the Art Label Campaign are members of the loose group "Young British Artists" and nominees or winners of the Turner Prize. Damien Hirst for example, designed a label for Beck's in 1995, showing his famous spots. In 2000 Tracey Emin created a label, which shows herself, posing in a bathtub. Furthermore Rachel Whiteread designed a label in 1993, presenting her artwork "house", which was also financed by Beck's. Famous artists, who have been as well featured on the label, have been: Jeff Koons, Yoko Ono, Andy Warhol and many others.
The Art Label Campaign has also been parodied by Matthew Higgs, who is a member of the British art collective "Bank". In his exhibition "The Charge of the Light Brigade" in 1995, he brewed a beer, called "Kunstlerbrau". With this allusion to the Beck's Art Label Campaign, he probably wanted to make fun of Beck's effort to become the "favourite beer" of the British art scene.
Nevertheless, the Campaign which originated in the United Kingdom has recently spread over to many other countries, including for the first time in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and others. Beck's has also modified their sponsorship program over the years. In 2012 they started giving young and independent musicians the opportunity to design a label for the Beck's bottle.
Beck's beer has previously sponsored the Beck's Futures British art prize given to contemporary artists.
Beck's summer 2009 limited-edition labels were designed by the musical groups Hard-Fi and Ladyhawke (musician). Beck's 2010 limited-edition art labels were designed by the musical group Phoenix and other emerging artists. With each art label, consumers could download a free track from play.com.
- The Plot to Destroy America's Beer - Businessweek
- Small print on the back of 2014 UK Beck's bottles
- Gibbons, Joanne: Art & Advertising. London 2005.
- Bottle of Becks Beer with label designed by Damien Hirst | Hirst, Damien | V&A Search the Collections
- Tracey Emin gets in bed with Beck's | UK news | The Guardian
- Beck'S | Live Beyond Labels
-  Beck's turns to the music industry to design beer labels
- Official international site
- Official German site
- Official US site
- Official UK site
- Official Beck's Live Studio site
- YCN's Beck's Live Studio blog
- Official Italian site
- Official Australian site
- Heinrich Brugsch 1876 trip to the city of Philadelphia: Beck's Bier wins top prize
- Vintage Beck's Beer Advertisement from 1921