A Look at Radeberger's Tastemakers Collective
A New York City-based marketing campaign showcases outstanding places to drink beer
It was in 1872 when a group of five guys came together in a small territory in Germany and decided to create the perfect beer. They were the little guys.
But make beer they did by assembling the right team, building their own brewery and perfecting their craft to make what they believed to be the best beer in the land. This story behind Radeberger Pilsner, the culmination of these five men’s efforts, inspired a marketing campaign recently in New York City called the Tastemaker Collective that paid tribute to the folks that bring us the beers.
“They put of effort into building this brewery,” says Christian Arfert of Velvet Nation, the marketing consultant that rolled out the campaign. “They were flattening mountains.“ What Radeberger did was to introduce consumers to some of the people around New York – bartenders, bar owners, etc. – who are making similar efforts today to see that their customers get good beer in their bellies.
One example was Simon Burke, general manager of Swift Hibernian Lounge on East Fourth Street. Burke was born in Ireland, and he moved to New York nearly two decades ago to find his American dream. The first time he set foot in Swift, he knew it was his place – it reminded him of his father’s pub back in Ireland. He’s been general manager for more than 10 years now. “I’ve never done anything else,” Burke shares in the campaign. “But I always had a passion for it. From my first time behind the bar to now. I don’t think that will ever change. There’s always that level of excitement when you jump behind a bar – it’s almost like you’re on stage.”
Like Burke, the original Tastemakers in Germany in 1872 weren’t even brewers – they just knew the beer was important to people. “They were putting people together from all different areas of Germany to make sure all aspects of beer brewing would be represented in best possible way,” Arfert said.
Doug Jacobson, owner of Loreley Biergarten on the Lower East Side, modeled his bar after the beer pubs of Cologne, and the native New Yorker Jacobson got involved when he met the pub’s founder, Michael Momm, who shared his passion for German traditions. It lit a fire under Jacobson, who now shares that love of German culture – which he in turn shares with his customers. “I’m trying to take German culture and present it to Americans in a way that they’re not intimidated or afraid of it,” Jacobson said. “So we’ve kind of tweaked what’s trendy and what’s happening right now with this German culture that’s been working for hundreds of years.”
German culture like that which permeated the determined gentlemen who founded Radeberger, which is sort of the people’s drink – a crisp, light Pilsner with just enough bite in it to assert itself on the palate. The beer won German Pilsner of the Year in the 2019 NY International Beer Competition. And so, rather than simply tell the story of the beer itself, Velvet Nation went a step farther to tell the story of the people who are still serving the stalwart of German brewing culture today.
The stories involve clubs like City Vineyard, which overlooks the Hudson River; Ulysses, which is named for the work by Irish novelist James Joyce, and Pilsener Haus, an Austro-Hungarian style biergarten. They all hold to European traditions and each character within has his or her own story.
“We want to tell the story they really don’t have chance to tell,” Arfert said. “What we tried to do is connect the stories to the small business owners in New York.”
The Tastemaker Collective will return, according to Frederic Yager of Velvet Nation, but we don’t know yet when or where that will be. Stay tuned.