11 of the World’s Oldest Breweries
Humanity has been enjoying beer for a really long time, as these still-running establishments can attest.
1. Stepan Razin Brewery
Founded In: 1795
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
No extant Russian brewery can claim seniority over this one. For those interested in learning more, its official museum has been entertaining and educating tourists since 1995.
2. St. James’ Gate Brewery
Founded In: 1759
Location: Dublin, Ireland
The home of Guinness (of which 13 million pints are consumed every St. Patrick’s Day), this brewery had fallen into disuse when Arthur Guinness acquired it by signing a “9000-year lease.” To commemorate that historic event, the company celebrated five annual “Arthur’s Days” from 2009 to 2013, which saw participants drinking in his honor at 17:59 (5:59 PM).
3. Smithwick’s Brewery
Founded In: 1710
Location: Kilkenny, Ireland
Billed as “Superior Irish Ale,” Smithwick’s has been brewed for over 300 years. For comparison’s sake, America’s best-selling beer brand— Budweiser—has only been in production since 1876. Advantage: Ireland.
4. Grolsch Brewery
Founded In: 1615
Location: Groenlo, Netherlands
Famed for generating what’s arguably the Netherlands’ most iconic lager, Grolsch is also that picturesque nation’s third-largest brewer.
5. Stiegl Brewery
Founded In: 1492
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Fun fact: When he wasn’t composing or writing about his tuckus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart used to love chilling out with a pint of Stiegl.
6. Hubertus Brewery
Founded In: 1454
Location: Near Laa an der Thaya, Austria
There’s a pretty cool story behind the Hubertus Brewery logo. Adorning their bottle labels is the “stag of St. Hubertus,” which references a dream this medieval bishop’s said to have had. One night—the story goes—Hubertus envisioned a crucifix nestled above the head of a buck. Taking this as a heavenly sign, he proceeded to live out his remaining days with saintly vigor.
Founded In: 1328
Location: Munich, Germany
Get used to seeing a lot of Deutschland (and religious communities) on this list. Created by an Augustinian monastery, the monks who originally ran Augustiner-Bräu consumed a portion of their beer while selling the rest—tax-free—for profit.
8. Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co.
Founded In: 1302
Location: Cologne, Germany
There are reports of a brewery on 41 Eigelstein Street in Cologne from 1302. And though there have been a few wars and brewing stoppages, Gaffel is now among the 10 largest beer keg manufacturers in Germany.
9. Bolten Brewery
Founded In: 1266
Location: Korschenbroich, Germany
The good people at Bolten operate the oldest Altbier (a style of traditional German ale) brewery in the world.
10. Weltenburg Abbey Brewery
Founded In: 1050
Location: Kelheim, Germany
Four hundred and thirty-three years separates the founding of this monastery (617) from the founding of the brewery (1050) (433 years is longer ago than the Spanish Armada!). Nearly another millennium later, Weltenburg Abbey’s beloved beers are still going strong.
11. Weihenstephan Brewery
Founded In: 1040
Location: Bavaria, Germany
The world’s oldest continuously-operating brewery was born within Weihenstephan Abbey before being secularized in 1803 (today, it’s owned by the state of Bavaria). On a related note, you’re never too old to embrace social media: check out Weihenstephan’s official twitter page.