Uli Schiefelbein is founder of The Krafty Braumeister – and his love for brewing began when he was working in Baghdad, where the only available beers were canned, stored at temperatures above 40°C! Here he talks about how his microbrewery business gives him joy every day
I’m enjoying every day of my life. After working for nearly 40 years in the field of ‘Rule of Law’, it is so rewarding to produce beers that people love. Getting wonderful feedback about the beers and seeing the business grow fills me with joy. Coming to England to live with my wife Auriol and Dylan, our dog, has made my life complete.
I worked for the EU as a so called ‘Rule of Law’ expert. I worked in developing countries in Europe, Asia and Africa over the years to train police, prison governors and judges about the Rule of Law. So, Baghdad was one of my postings.
My lovely wife Auriol brought me to Suffolk – and we bought a house back in 2013. By the way, we met in Baghdad…
At the start of the pandemic our small business had just seemed to start to take off. In March 2020, our sales collapsed – and I thought we have to shut down the business, but I didn’t want to give up that easy.
We adjusted our business model and started selling beer directly to the public at weekend markets in London. That went well enough to keep us going. Now, we are again concentrating on wholesale and events in the brewery.
The secret of our beers is their simplicity. We only use malt, hops, yeast and water and nothing else. We do not add sugars for carbonation or add any supplements. The beers are not filtered and not pasteurised. We also don’t add finings (which are often made of fish swim bladders). This makes our beers vegan friendly. We just want to produce refreshing and easily drinkable beers.
We use step-infusion in the mashing process. This means that we raise the temperature in several steps to wash out as many of the sugars as we can from the grains. On bottling day, we add unfermented beer (instead of sugar) to the fermented beer to carbonate the beers in bottles and kegs.
We love to welcome people in the brewery. With the new brewery tours, they experience the German beer culture by tasting our beers and enjoying traditional German beer garden snacks. We play Oompah music from a stereo set and hope that everybody has a really good time with fresh beer, tasty food and lots of beer anecdotes and facts.
Our stockists are listed on our website. The number is growing weekly now – and we try to keep the list updated. We also sell from the brewery and online.
We just want to go back to normal times. We are a bunch of social people and enjoy interacting with visitors in the brewery. We really missed that a lot! We hope that we can have visitors around and that Covid can be kept at bay!
We definitely want the brewery to become a hub for people who love German beers. We will brew seasonal and specialty beers, like Oktoberfest beer, and hope to be able to get people around to enjoy them at special events.
The Krafty Braumeister‘s microbrewery in Leiston, Suffolk, is open for Tours & Tastings on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Visitors will dive into German beer culture and learn about its history and differences. Each guest will be able to try Krafty’s beers accompanied by German snacks and traditional Bavarian Oompah music. Tours and Tastings begin at 5pm and last approximately two hours, visitors are welcome to stay for more beers after this if they so wish. Krafty can also accommodate private group bookings outside of regular hours. The microbrewery also launched mini kegs just in time for summer. Find The Krafty Braumeister on Instagram