Billy Busch Gets Some Beer Advice From His Kids

Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A middle-aged brewer from an old St. Louis brewing family says after five years of making Kraftig beer, it was time to take some advice from his kids.

Billy Busch is changing the labels on his Kraftig lager and light beer, following a suggestion from his children.

“My two oldest children who recently graduated from college, came to me and said they didn’t think we were hitting the mark with our labels,” Busch said. “And they’re that contemporary adult demographic. And we really want to appeal to the contemporary adult demographic, the 21-to-39-year-old drinker.”

Market research confirmed that some consumers felt confused, Busch said, by the original dark green labels on Kraftig. Some thought it was a dark beer, when in fact, it’s a lager.

img 7047 Billy Busch Gets Some Beer Advice From His Kids

Evolution of Kraftig lables: Original can on left was darker, as was original bottle label on left. (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

The new lables are lighter colors: Gold, silver and lighter green. Busch says the gold and sliver were chosen to reflect the awards Kraftig has won at beer competitions over the past five years.

With 13,000 barrels sold last year, Busch says Kraftig is growing, but there’s room for growth. Right now he says the beer has caught on with lager drinkers who want more flavor. It also has a following with craft beer drinkers who want a lower-priced beer. And then there’s a segment of the market who might view Kraftig beer as the last beer in town made solely by a Busch, after the InBev takeover of Anheuser-Busch.

“I think people can look at Kraftig as the real American Lager, because we’re not from Brazil, or Belgium or South Africa,” Busch said.

In reality, Kraftig beer is from Lacrosse, Wisconsin, where Busch’s brewmaster travels every other week to make a batch and come home. The company plans to build a brewery here in St. Louis, Busch says, preferably at Grant’s Farm, the animal theme park in south St. Louis tied up in the Busch family trust.

A trust administrator with Wells Fargo is working to reach an agreement between Billy Busch and his siblings.

“You know, my four brothers and sister have put in an offer to buy Grant’s Farm,” Busch said. “And I’ve put in an offer to buy Grant’s Farm. And so, they’re looking at both sides very, very carefully, trying to decide which direction to go in.”

img 7044 Billy Busch Gets Some Beer Advice From His Kids

Kraftig Light label shows off gold and silver from medals the beer has won over five years. (Kevin Killeen/KMOX)

Busch says if his dream of brewing Kraftig at Grant’s Farm doesn’t work out, he still plans to build a brewery “someplace in the St. Louis area.”

No word on what advice, if any, his children are giving him about where to put the brewery.

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