The William K. Busch Brewing Co., maker of Kräftig beer, is ceasing operations, the company confirmed Wednesday.
William K. “Billy” Busch announced plans for Kräftig, which means strong or robust in German, in mid-2011.
“After careful consideration, the William K. Busch Brewing Company has decided to shut down,” Busch said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I want to thank all of our customers, retailers, suppliers, and vendors who have supported us over the last eight years. I’ve always been passionate about brewing, because it’s in my blood. I hope to one day return to this great American-led industry.”
Busch had planned to build a brewery and distillery on land he owns in St. Charles County called Blue Heron Farm. The brewery would have focused on artisan, small-batch beers and craft, barrel-aged whiskeys, the company said last year.
The William K. Busch Brewing Co. has produced Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light, both of which are brewed under contract at a facility in Wisconsin and sent to Missouri on trucks.
Busch had already completed one of the structures on the property, at 4151 Benne Road in Defiance, said Mary Enger, director of communications for St. Charles County, Tuesday evening. Busch still needed to submit a site plan and apply for building permits and erosion control permits.
The location is across the street from the Kräftig Polo Club.
The William K. Busch Brewing Co. had said in December that it anticipated completing construction in spring 2020.
In 2016 Busch sought to build a demonstration brewery on the grounds of Grant’s Farm in south St. Louis County. Ultimately five other members of the family decided instead to purchase the 270-acre property for $51 million and keep it open and free to the public.
Busch, a son of the late August “Gussie” Busch Jr., never worked at Anheuser-Busch. After A-B was sold to InBev in 2008, Billy Busch previously said he was inspired to offer beer made in the style of his family’s brewing legacy. The company had expanded sales outside of Missouri in recent years, including distribution in Texas.
The brewer didn’t consider itself a “craft beer” focusing solely on lagers. Kräftig’s marketing materials touted its adherence to German beer purity law, Reinheitsgebot, and the beer’s use of only four ingredients: water, barley, yeast and hops.
Kräftig will continue to be available at retailers and other outlets while supplies last, the company said, as the company winds down. William K. Busch Brewing Company said it predicts that inventory will last through September of 2019.