City of Zug, 07.12.2019

A brewery for the Goldgasse

The lane is narrow and rarely receives visits from passer-bys: the Goldgasse, which runs along the south wall of the Restaurant Schiff in the historic centre of Zug. There will be a little more life in the future - at least on Saturdays. There is a large industrial-style door there, behind which the butcher Aklin once produced meat products and dishes, and it’s precisely here where beer will be brewed and sold starting this week. The Bachweg Brauerei (brewery), which was opened in Edlibach by three Americans in 2016, has moved into the building in the historic old town of Zug, which is officially Seestrasse 15b - even though the entrance leads to the Goldgasse.

It's Tuesday morning – and the brewery is on the move. A big truck carrying several chrome-steel tanks stands between the Restaurant Platzmühle and the bird aviary. Thomas Doebeli, one of the six co-owners of the brewery, closely follows the loading of the tanks. "The tricky part is yet to come." He means the narrow Goldgasse alley and the front door. "We’ll have to lie the tanks on their side to get them through the door." The entrance to the new premises of the Bachweg Brauerei lies deep in the Goldgasse, next to the ‘Cheibeturm’ (tower). "Apart from the various brewery utensils, we have everything here - from the kitchen to the radiator."

Doebeli and his co-founders have been looking for a larger location for some time - if possible in the city of Zug. "We want to be closer to our customers." But there was a long wait until a suitable location could be found. "We were too late or it was not going to be rented." In the temporary premises at the "Freiruum", a contract with another brewery made the plan impossible. And the old cheese dairy on the Ägeristrasse couldn’t be used because the fermentation tanks would not fit there, according to Doebeli. These fermentation tanks are especially important to the would-be brewers, however. "We want to offer an authentic customer experience. That's why we want to have the brewing kettles in our new restaurant.”

Handling brewing kettles with a height of over two and a half metres and a weight of about 400 kilograms is difficult in the old town of Zug. Doebeli and some of his brewing colleagues are helping the employees of the special transport company. Once the chrome steel tanks have been carefully unloaded in front of the Restaurant Schiff, they are now lifted individually using a forklift and driven into the Goldgasse.

Doebeli and his men also have to lend a hand with an elongated storage tank, so ensure it remains straight while moving. The next hurdle is the entrance itself. Although this is already rather wide, it had to be was enlarged by another 20 centimetres. But the height is too small. Without further ado, the specialists place the behemoth on its side on small trolleys, and then push it in.

Photo 1: The fermentation tanks are taken off the truck to be transported by a forklift truck.
Photo 2: The entrance door to the future brewery is made ready for the transport
Photo 3: The tanks are driven through the Goldgasse using a forklift
Photo 4: The fermentation tank enters the new premises on its side
Photo 5: Together with the brewery owners, the transport specialists set up one of the fermentation tanks.

Once inside, the team can then make use of the existing infrastructure of the former meat production. The hook that used to be used for processing calves, is used to set up the fermentation tanks.

They found out about the former production site of the Rogenmoser and Aklin butcher on the Goldgasse in the city of Zug rather by accident, says Doebeli. “We enquired about an advertisement for the former butcher's shop at the Zytturm.” While there, they were also shown the production room on the Goldgasse. "And this was optimal for us."

They are also aware of the somewhat special situation in the old town - a district that needs new life, but in which many residents don’t want additional noise and emissions. "The smell of beer brewing is something like that from a bakery, and for now we will only be selling the beer: every Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm” With the possibility of tasting it in a so-called tap-room, as the Americans call it.

The tanks have now been moved and the six brewers can start setting up. "We want to start selling this Saturday, December 7." Doebeli hopes that – like the big fermentation tanks - existing customers will also find their way from Edlibach to Zug. And he is confident that, in the case of niche products, such as those produced by small breweries, people who are specifically looking for such offers are more important than walk-in customers – who probably wouldn’t stroll down the Goldgasse anyway.

With the Bachweg Brauerei, beer will be brewed in the city of Zug for the first time in almost 140 years. As can be read in the Zug Calendar of 1936, there was a brewery in the building of the former Restaurant Hecht from 1871. The building was sold in 1881, which led to the end of beer brewing in the City of Zug.