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Griesedieck Bros. beer is poised for a comeback

Griesedieck Bros. beer is poised for a comeback


Ray and Bob Griesedieck have big plans for their family's storied beer brand.

The father-son team has been working to revive Griesedieck Bros. Brewery, which has made beer for St. Louis on and off since 1911.

Griesedieck contract-brews a golden pilsner and an unfiltered wheat ale at a Wisconsin brewery. Bob Griesedieck, 26, says he and his dad will add a pale ale to the lineup within a few months. They want to triple their beer output next year to about 1,200 barrels, and they want to bring production back to St. Louis.

"Our goal all along has been to open a brewery here and employ people here," Bob Griesedieck says. "This town has done so much for our business and our family, we might as well support it as much as we can."

The family's brewing history in St. Louis began when German immigrant Anton Griesedieck opened several breweries. He employed his four sons and other relatives, who eventually branched out to other brewing operations, including Falstaff Brewing Corp., Belleville-based Griesedieck Western Brewery Co. and, of course, Griesedieck Bros. Brewery.

After Prohibition, Griesedieck and its American-style lager became a household name — often referred to by its fans as Slippery Richard — thanks in part to its radio-broadcast sponsorship of the Cardinals until Anheuser-Busch bought the team in 1953.

Falstaff acquired Griesedieck Bros. Brewery in 1957 and stopped making GB beer three years later. The brand laid mostly dormant until Ray Griesedieck began to resurrect the company in 1992.

Ray Griesedieck is the son of Henry A. Griesedieck, who was the last president of Greisedieck Bros. before Falstaff bought the brewery. Ray needed a decade to put a GB beer back on the market. The company's draft-only European-style pilsner could be found in a few dozen St. Louis bars and restaurants from 2002 to 2007.

Since then, GB's Pilsener also has been available in bottles, which were joined on shelves last year by the brewery's Bavarian-style wheat. Six-packs sell for $7 to $8.

"We believe in affordable craft beer," Bob Griesedieck says.

Griesedieck Bros. beer today can be found at more than 200 supermarkets, bars, restaurants and bottle shops in Missouri and Illinois.

"We'd like to have a national presence with maybe a half-dozen different beer styles," Bob Griesedieck says.

A homebrewer, Griesedieck says he likes to experiment with recipes from the family brewery's heyday. Any of those could be the next Griesedieck beer.

"We have those recipes in our back pocket," he says. "It's fun to see what beers were around back when St. Louis was a craft-beer capital the first time around."

More info

Evan's pick: Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA

Lowdown: New to St. Louis, this American-style India pale ale incorporates six varieties of hops — more than 4 pounds per barrel — into a brew that pops with grapefruit and orange aromas and flavors. It's well-balanced — so much, in fact, that its relatively high 7.5 percent alcohol by volume can sneak up on you.

Price: About $10 for a six-pack

Where to find it: DeVine Wines and Spirits, 2961 Dougherty Ferry Road, Valley Park

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