HHL Graduate Is Building Germany’s Largest Craft Beer Retail Chain
Christian Klemenz, 29, has created a new retail concept for beer in Germany with Bierothek®
With over 165 start-ups established by HHL alumni over the past 18 years, Germany’s top address for young managers has also developed into an incubator for company creation. HHL was named one of the leading entrepreneurial universities in Germany two years in a row. A prime example of a truly entrepreneurial idea is Bierothek® by Master graduate (M.Sc.) Christian Klemenz. The store offers national and international specialty beers which can be difficult to find elsewhere. In addition to rarely-seen brews such as Belgian Trappist beers, American pale ales and international lagers, customers can also buy award-winning beers from the German region of Franconia at Bierothek®.
Just in time for World Beer Day on April 23, which also marks the 500th anniversary of the enactment of the German purity law, comes the news that Bierothek GmbH founded by Christian Klemenz has become the market leader in the field of specialist beer stores in Germany and is successively working on building its nationwide presence. The young start-up from Bamberg has announced three more locations in Fürth, Frankfurt and Erfurt, doubling the number of specialist beer storefronts over the next three months.
Christian Klemenz, who was born in Franconia, comments on the 500th anniversary of the German purity law, “The purity law as an international trademark certainly is a great blessing for German beer. Another appropriate reform, as the ones that have occurred over the last 500 years from time to time, would make sense though to bring it closer again to what it once represented – a naturalness law.
The foundation of St. ERHARD GmbH, the parent company of Bierothek®, goes back to the former HHL student’s term abroad in India in 2010. Back then, when the term craft beer did not even exist in Germany, the young entrepreneur from Bamberg decided to start his own craft beer brand and export it to the world. In addition to the production of the St. ERHARD private brand, the very successful Bierothek® store was added to the portfolio in 2014, turning the student start-up into one the most important companies on the German craft beer market today. “HHL supported me very much back then in starting my own business while I was still at university,” explains the 29-year-old entrepreneur. “My understanding of brands, which is an important basis for our entire business, was shaped by the marketing classes at the Leipzig business school.”
Key to success: passion for the product, meaningful vision as well as unshakeable persistence
Christian Klemenz describes the key to success as a founder, “To me, the three deciding factors to be able to face the challenges of starting a business are: passion for the product, meaningful vision as well as unshakeable persistence.”
Regarding the entrepreneurship training at his school, the Master graduate from HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management comments, “I made my decision to enroll at HHL because of the entrepreneurship focus. More than just the sheer content, it is the entrepreneurial culture which is very present at the school and makes it a successful hotbed for start-ups.”