The history of European beer production in Georgia dates back to the 1850s, introduced by German colonists who lived in Tiflis in the 19th century who started brewing beer in factories here; however, despite the high productivity, the beer they made did not go beyond the province's borders. Georgia has been rediscovering the delights of beer since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in the last decade alone production and variety has been on the up. Find out more below.
In 1850, German Louisa Mader founded a company that boiled black, relatively poor quality beer. Later, in 1865, German Friedrich Wetzel began brewing higher quality Bavarian beer. Wetzel is best known for building the first-class Wetzel Hotel on Mikhail Prospect (today’s 103 David Agmashenebeli Avenue) in 1897-1900. The Wetzel beer factory was located on present-day Uznadze Street.
In the following decades, as modern technologies for brewing were widely adopted in Georgia, beer production also developed.
In the 1880s, the Louisa Mader built a new factory which employed just 16 people. The quantity of beer produced was not small for the scale of Tbilisi, and in the decade 1886-1896, the Mader factory produced 48,000-52,000 barrels of beer, which amounted to a profit of 62,400-67,000 Russian Rubles.
Wetzel opened an even larger factory in 1868, which employed 16 workers. The Wetzel factory was distinguished for its brewing both Bavarian and Black beer. In fact, the Wetzel plant was so successful at increasing its annual production that it was eventually able to export. The year of its opening, the Wetzel factory produced 65,000 barrels of beer worth 84,000 Russian Rubles. The price of a single barrel varied from 1.3 to 2 Rubles.
Trader Nikoloz Lortkipanidze was among the first Georgian beer producers. He had a small business near Didube Street (now D. Kipiani Street) near the German beer companies mentioned above, annually producing about 12,500 barrels of beer worth about 21,000 Rubles. The low productivity came from the lack of technology used in manufacturing. By 1886, production had significantly increased, and Lortkipanidze's company was producing 40,000 barrels of beer a year worth 56,000 Rubles.
Also present in Tbilisi in the late 19th century were the Gutbrod and Detrich breweries.
The beer produced in Georgia was mostly intended for local consumers and only a small portion of the produced beer was exported outside the territory. Internally, beer production never replaced the centuries old love of wine, nor did that the wine dull the more modern love for beer. And in parallel with European beer production in Tbilisi, the production of artificial mineral waters and lemonade also developed.
Today, real German beer enthusiasts can enjoy it in several locations in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi. German beer house ‘Munich’, craft beer ‘9 Mta’ and Beer Factory ‘Chemo Kargo’ are highly recommended among them.
‘Munich,’ the biggest German beer house in Georgia, is located on the right bank of Mtkvari, at 40 A. Bakradze Street (the area near the Digomi Bridge) in Tbilisi. It offers 12 types of top quality beer and delicious dishes from German, European, Eastern European, and Georgian cuisine.
‘Munich’ is the perfect place to feel the German spirit in Georgia. It allows visitors to keep on top of the biggest sporting events of the month, and many head there to relax with friends, watch their favorite games and enjoy real German beer and popular German dishes, like Schnitzel. As for the desserts, ‘Munich’ offers amazingly delicious apple strudel and other tasty sweets.
Good food, a great selection of craft beers and good service await guests, with prices ranging between GEL 10 - 40.
9 Mta (Nine Mountains) offers unique craft beer that is the result of “crossing the 9 mountains and 9 seas for true beer lovers in their journey for freedom and discovery!”
You can taste this extremely delicious beer at the restaurant located at 10 Tabidze Street, where you will also find 24 types of craft beer from all over the world, exciting events, great music and all the comfort beer lovers demand.
You can also buy 9 Mta at restaurant Rooms, Zala, Tabla, Otium, Tone, Keti’s Bistro, Amodi, Art Café Home, Antishpoti, 11 Katkha, Coffee lab, Linville, Burger Bar, and G-vino.
Hotels ‘Rooms Kazbegi’, Stamba, Iota, and Hualing, and supermarkets ‘Goodwill’, AgroHub, Spar, Smugglers, Eel, and Mercato also sell 9 Mta.
Beer Factory - Chemo Kargo is located in the Digomi district of Tbilisi, at 25 Akaki Beliashvili Street. It offers premium quality beers for those looking for something new to discover.
In addition to a cozy atmosphere, delicious hot and cold dishes, nice music and a team of professionals, it offers a wide variety of amazing craft beers, including: Kargo – a lager; APA - American beer with a pleasant flavor; Pilsner - traditional Czech style beer, with a characteristic pleasant sourness; Stout - Irish black beer with a pleasant taste and creamy foam; and Wit – Belgian white beer.
By Ana Dumbadze
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