For 32 years, Kurt Widmer has been at the helm of one of the most successful brewery brands in the US - Widmer Brothers Brewing. His innovative approach to brewing beer, from wrapping fermentors in electric blankets to getting his beer distributed in all 50 states, has led to Widmer's meteoric rise in the brewing world. Now, in this exclusive article, find out what Kurt has been up to and his plans for the future!
Kurt Widmer was born in 1951 in Portland, Oregon and has played a significant role in the craft beer movement for being the co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing. Started in 1984, Widmer Brothers has become one of the largest craft beer companies in the United States.
Kurt, who graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland with a degree in history, first got into the beer business when his brother, Rob Widmer, bought an old dilapidated dairy in the industrial area of north Portland. Rob and Kurt then took the remainder of their college fund and, along with two other friends, founded Widmer Brothers Brewing in 1984.
Kurt Widmer had a vision for Widmer Brothers and it quickly became clear that he was the driving force in the growth and success of the company. In Widmer’s early days he and Rob wrapped their fermentors in electric blankets to help maintain fermentation temperatures. Soon, Widmer Brothers was the only brewery in town that had a method of maintaining consistent temperature and this gave them an edge on the competition.
Kurt Widmer is considered a pioneer of the craft beer movement and his experience as brewmaster has helped Widmer Brothers Brewing become one of the most successful breweries in the US. Kurt was one of the first brewers to experiment with new styles of beer such as unfiltered wheat and fruit beers. He found success with his experimentation and these beers quickly became popular with drinkers. Widmer's specialty beers helped to set the brewery apart from the competition and helped it to become successful.
Since its founding, Widmer Brothers has grown from a small Portland brewery to become a nationally recognized brand. Widmer’s success is testimony to Kurt Widmer’s leadership and business acumen. In 1995, Widmer Brothers Brewing was the first craft brewer to become nationally distributed. By 1998, it was distributed in all 50 states, a feat that no other craft brewer was able to accomplish at the time.
Kurt Widmer has been the recipient of many awards and recognition for his achievements in the craft beer industry. Widmer Brothers Brewing has won numerous awards including The Great American Beer Festival Large Brewery of the Year in 2002, Brewers Choice Award Winner in 2005, and World Beer Cup Gold Medal Winner in 2008. Kurt has also been inducted into the Oregon Beer Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Kurt Widmer officially retired from Widmer Brothers Brewing. Widmer Brothers Brewing is now owned by Anheuser Busch InBev, but continues to maintain its reputation for excellent craft beers. Widmer’s beers are available in all 50 states and its beers have won many awards over the years. Widmer Brothers Brewing is a testament to Kurt Widmer’s creativity, dedication, and hard work in the craft beer industry.
Kurt Widmer has served an important role in the craft beer movement for over 32 years. From wrapping fermentors in electric blankets, to seeing Widmer Brothers distributed in all 50 states, Kurt has come a long way and has developed a lasting legacy in the craft beer industry. Kurt Widmer has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognition and his beers will continue to be enjoyed by craft beer enthusiasts throughout the US.