Why doing more than selling beer makes a good beer store great

What is the beer-lover equivalent of discovering a pot of gold?  Where is the Holy Grail for beer connoisseurs inspired by a vast assortment of great brews under one roof?  Even Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant.

Whatever myth you prefer, imagine finding yourself in the beer store of your dreams.  Just imagine it.  Well-stocked.  Abundant national and international beers of every style.  And you’re allowed to purchase, open and sample the beers within the beer store.

It’s a dream encounter.  Immensely rewarding.

Be honest, we all have beer store needs.  The geeks, nerds and tickers seek the continual ebb and flow of new tastes.  Food aficionados demand the perfect pairing experience.  Tourists hunt regional treats.  Beer fans, casual drinkers and those tired of industrial blandness desire a unique flavour explosion.  We all have beer store needs.

Basically, do you love beer?  Anybody who loves beer needs a capable beer store.

I challenge you.  Is serendipity the definition of discovering a well-stocked, well-staffed and well-respected beer store?  They’re rare.  It could be the hardest discovery to make.  And to a beer-lover it is the greatest, most rewarding discovery to make.

So, join Lord Lucas and me as we visit Dresden’s Hopfenkult.  A beer store that ticks all the boxes.

What beats a great beer store stacked to the rafters with every kind of beer?  What’s more delightful than a beer store founded on dedication?  Imagine it.  Several rooms filled with a cornucopia of beer treats, stacked floor-to-ceiling.

One thing’s certain, there isn’t much that’s better.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw it.  We all know local beer stores that sell many beers from local breweries alongside a handful of international greats.  However, few can successfully claim to be an enterprise of passion.

Who can honestly name more than a handful of beer stores that are driven by a passion for beer?  I can name a few — you know who you are!

And what exactly is it, to be driven by a passion for beer?  It’s a steely focus.  It’s an unmistakable enthusiasm.  It’s recognising this is much more than just a commercial enterprise.

Above all, it’s firstly a dedication to great beer and great service.  The financial rewards they bring are secondary.  They’re a consequence of getting the beer selection, events and service perfectly right.

Surprisingly, it’s not all about Germany.  It’s surprisingly international.  As we would expect from such a laser-sharp focus on the best beer.  From the best breweries.  From the best regions of a global beer market.

Borders have no place in the world of international beer.  Great beer with a great taste needs no abstract lines on a map.

Now hang on.  Isn’t this a beer store in Dresden, Germany?  Shouldn’t it be about local beer?

Well, yes.  But just keep reading and I’ll explain all.

The point is, Local Saxony beers are highly visible.  Of course.  There’s a whole section dedicated to them.  But they’re not overshadowing the best in international beer.  The best beers from the Netherlands.  The US.  The UK.  And so on.

And don’t forget the best beer from across Germany.  International visitors don’t need to travel throughout the land.  All the important beers are here.  Under one roof. In one beer store.  Available to purchase, open and sample on the premises.

Does your local beer store behave in a nine-to-five way?  Or does it throw open its doors late into the evening?  Does your local beer store welcome beer-connoisseurs till midnight?

If not, Dresden in the place to be.

It’s such a simple, elegant solution.  Yet why do so many beer stores fail in this respect?  Why aren’t more beer stores following Hopfenkult’s lead?  Welcoming drinkers day and night.  Guiding them to the most appropriate beers for their tastes.

You will have realised by now that Hopfenkult is more than just a beer store.  It respects fellow-travellers on the quest for great beer.  It humbly respects customers.  They’re not merely paying customers, buying whatever is for sale.  Everybody is on the journey together.

But wait.  There’s more.

For example:

  • Does your local beer store host special events? Does it invite special guests to meet and chat with customers?
  • Does your local beer store host regular Open Bottle Nights?
  • Does your local beer store’s love of beer shine?

Hopfenkult does all these things.  It embraces the role of brewer, beer professional and expert.  It encourages these roles to interact with customers during tasting events and talks in the evenings.  It promotes chat, fun and friendship.

Hopfenkult hosts Open Bottle Nights every Thursday and Friday.  Inviting locals and beer-fanatics to come and try the latest, greatest new or unusual beers.

In all respects, Hopfenkult shines like a beacon, attracting the area’s beer-lovers.  Likes bees to nectar.

Quite simply, Hopfenkult is not merely a store that sells beer.  It creates value.  It stands tall as a proud social enterprise.  It is award-winning and invaluable to the local community.

At its heart is a beating passion for wonderful beer.  It is the beating heart of a community.  A community that needs this kind of beer store.  It’s a refuge in the surrounding sea of corporate blandness.

So, when you’re in Dresden or the Saxony region, you must visit Hopfenkult.  The staff are both beer librarians and custodians.  The beers are perfectly arranged by style.  By region.  By brewery.  All engineered by a deft sleight of hand that any magician would be proud of.

The staff at Hopfenkult display a beer dexterity that many beer-lovers would struggle to replicate.  The authenticity is hard to deny.

And that is all that really matters, right?

There is little to fault at Hopfenkult.  It is a destination of choice for international beer-lovers seeking the best Europe has to offer.  If only it had its own airport.  It would then exemplify perfection.

There’s little to fault and much to praise.  If only all beer stores were this passionate.  This forward-thinking.  This cutting-edge.  And focused on providing great beer to equally forward-thinking beer-lovers.

Visiting Hopfenkult is an enriching experience.  It makes a mockery of other beer stores in which handing over the cash is the most excitement on offer.  The loving, personal touches are what makes Hopfenkult a wonderful beer store.  They’re what make any good beer store great.  They’re what make Hopfenkult a dream.

A dream from which I hope I never awaken.

(The original article from which this is derived is shown in full at the bottom of the page.  ” Getting to know: Hopfenkult – The Craft Beer Store”)


Getting to know: Hopfenkult – The Craft Beer Store

To beer geeks, beer nerds, beer-tickers, beer fans, problem drinkers, interested parties, beer-monsters in disguise, casual drinkers, food aficionados seeking the perfect pairing, those tired of industrial blandness, tourists seeking regional treats, or anyone who basically has great taste, finding beer stores in which bottles can be opened and consumed are the drinkers’ equivalent of finding the holy grail, the ark of the covenant, Lord Lucas or whatever other mythical being or system takes your fancy.  Whatever your beer or cider persuasion, a well-stocked, well-staffed, and, well, frankly astonishingly capable beer store can be the hardest discovery to make, and yet the greatest piece of serendipity a beer-lover can experience.

We all know great beer stores, laden with a cornucopia of beer treats.  We all know bottle stores stacked to the rafters with every style of beer from every brewery operating in the local market.  Although few are enterprises of passion, few are driven by a love of beer that exceeds simple commercial rewards.  Few can claim to be doing it purely for the love of beer ahead of financial returns.

Does your local bottle store operate on a commercial-only 9-5 basis, or does it remain open late into the evening, welcoming drinkers and beer-connoisseurs?  Does your local beer store host events, welcoming breweries for evening sessions with drinks, chat, fun and friendship?  Does your local beer store hold open-bottle nights, at which drinkers are welcome to come along and try the latest, greatest new or unusual beers?  Does your local beer store’s love of beer shine, is it a beacon attracting beer-lovers, creating value and standing tall as a proud social enterprise that is not only award-winning but also invaluable to the local community?  Or is it simple a store that sells beer?

Dresden’s Hopfenkult, or Hop Cult, ticks all the boxes.  Drinkers are welcomed day and night, guided to the most appropriate beers for their tastes, respected as fellow-travellers on the quest for great beer – not simple paying customers buying whatever product is for sale.  It is a heart beating passionately, the heart of the community; the beating heart of an interest in beer that needs an outlet of this nature in a World of corporate blandness.

The staff at Hopfenkult are both librarians and custodians, perfectly arranging beers by style, by region and by brewery.  All done with the sleight of hand any magician would kill for, all done with a dexterity any self-confessed beer-lover would struggle to emulate, all done with an authenticity that is hard to deny.

Surprisingly, it’s not all about Germany.  It’s surprisingly international, as we would expect from such a laser-sharp focus on the best beers, from the best breweries in the best regions of a global beer market – borders have no place in the world of international beers; great beer with a great taste transcends those abstract lines on a map.  Local Saxony beers are to the fore, of course, yet they’re not overshadowing the best beers from the Netherlands, the US, the UK, and so forth.  And for those interested in German beer, there’s little need to travel throughout the land when all the important beers are here under one roof, in one bottle-store and available to try.

Short of having its own runway and being the destination of choice for international beer-lovers wishing to experience the best beers Europe has to offer, there is little to fault Hopfenkult.   Little to fault and much to praise; if only all beer stores were this passionate and forward-thinking, cutting-edge and focused on providing great beer to equally forward-thinking beer-lovers with an enriching experience that makes a mockery of simply handing over the cash to make a purpose.  The loving, personal touches are what makes a good beer store great, what makes Hopfenkult a dream.

I hope I never wake from this dream.



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