As the brand's marketing claims, 1664 was a good year for beer, not mentioned however that the year was also a very good year for Kronenbourg, beginning a legacy in French beer brewing that would persist over 3 centuries.
Founded by Jérôme Hatt as the Hatt Brewery in Strasbourg (which would be annexed by France 17 years later), the business immediately began to grown, becoming a highly successful enterprise with constantly increasing volumes.
The brewery was moved in 1850 by a descendant of the founder, Frédéric-Guillaume due to operation being interrupted due to flooding of the river Ill. The site chosen by the brewery was in the nearby village of Cronenbourg (which would later be changed to Kronenbourg after German occupation). Not only was this site above the flood lines of the river, it was significantly closer to the railway lines that would soon be transporting loads of beer throughout France. Soon, the brewery was a dominant force in French beer production.
The company acquired the Brasserie du Tigre in 1922, which soon went on to release the famous Tigre Bock beer that would further increase the company's fortunes. To honor the town that was the home of its operations, the brewery renamed Tigre Bock as Kronenbourge in 1947.
Kronenbourg took an active role in developing packing standards for the industry. In 1947 it became the first brewery to release its products in a 33cl bottle, and was an early adopter of can technology in 1953.
The year 1952 marks the release of what would become the company's highest profile brand, Kronenbourg 1664 to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. To expand its profit opportunities, the company began distributing its product overseas in 1959. This expansion began with Europe and 1664 soon established a loyal following. With this aditional load the brewery struggled to maintain product supplies until the opening of a modern brewery in Obernai in 1969 - the largest brewery of its time.
In 1970 Kronenbourg joined the Danone group along with a rival company, Société Européenne de Brasseries. These two former competitors merged in 1986 to form Brasseries Kronenbourg.
Along with the breweries traditional products of Kronenbourg Red and Kronenbourg 1664, the company has expanded its product line to capture market share created due to the changing tastes of its consumers. In the late 1990s the company released Kronenbourg Premier Cru, an upmarket beer released in a deep blue bottle. The product was honored in 2005 with it being awarded the gold medal at the 2005 International Beer Competition.
The expansion continued into the new millenium, with the realease of Kronenbourg Blanc. Designed as a white beer, it was inspired by the 13th century Cervoise brewing style. It has been described as having a subtle flavor of citrus, coriander and cloves with a crisp taste.
2003 saw the introduction of the innovative Kronenbourg Fizz & Punch line. Fizz is a beer flavored of gin and lime while Punch has highlights of rum and citrus and is marketed towards a younger audience to Kronenbourg's traditional beers.
Brasseries Kronenbourg was acquired from Danone by Scottish & Newcastle in July 2000. Today, the brewery controls over 40% of the French beer market which makes it the largest brewery in France. Production now exceeds 8 million hectoliters per year with an average of 8 liters of water used per liter of beer produced during the brewing process. They also produce such popular brands as Carlsberg, Fosters and Strongbow for the French market.
- Kronenbourg Red
- Kronenbourg 1664
- 1664 Brune
- Single Malt
- Kronenbourg Blanc
- Kronenbourg Premier Cru
- Kronenbourg Cold Premier
- Kronenbourg Fizz & Punch