A Westphalian Tradition
Fritz Brinkhoff's story is one of entrepreneurial daring and success. Born in 1848 in Bochum-Harpen, less than 10 miles from the brewing center of Dortmunf, to a into a family of farmers, maltsters and brewers, it was only natural that Fritz, too, would become a brewer after finishing highschool. He eventually ended up as the technical director of the Struck & Companie Brewery. The Struck brewery was founded in 1844 by Wilhelm Struck, a baker-brewer. In those days, it was very common for bakers to have a small brewery and pub on the side. After all, both professions relied on yeast as a levitator. A man skilled in yeast husbandry could watch both his solid and liquid bread as well as his profits rise.
When the Struck brewery was aquired in 1870 by two investors, they were looking for a compotent manager, which is how Fritz Binkhoff entered the scene. As an accomlished brewer and economically aware lad, however, young Fritz he worked out a contract that accorded him not a monthly wage of 100 Taler plus a free room, but also a 25Pfenning commission on every hectoliter of beer that would be made under his direction. This small bonus was to lay the foundation of Fritz' fortune.
The Struck enterprize was so successful that, within two years, it had to be moved to a larger plot outside the city. To raise the needed capital, on January 30, 1873, the brewery was turned into a stockholders company and given a new name: "Dortmunder Union-Brauerei Actiengesellschaft" (DUB). The staple brew at the time was a deep golden brew, now known as Dortmunder Export.
In 1887, somebody in the brew house, however, made a mistake and mashed-in a brew of nothing but pale malt. Worse yet, this brew was shipped accidentally to a pub customer in Aachen near the Belgian border. But, as sometimes happens with unintended consquences, the "mistake" turned out to be a sensation in that pub. Thus was born, a new Dortmunder Union beer, a pale Pils-like brew, was was soon to become the signature brew of master Fritz Brinkhoff. By the turn of the century, DUB made 194,000 hectoliters of the "mistake," whihc was about ten times the total output that company had produced when it was founded only a baker's dozen years earlier. Fritz Brinkhoff himself retrired in 1923, but his company blossomed on the strength of "his" brew," surpassing the million-hectoliter mark in 1929 a volume, which the company was not to reach again until 1956, when it was beginning to recover from the destruction left behind by World War II. By the time the Dortmunder Union brewery marked it centennary in 1973, annual output had doubled to two million hectoliters. In 1995, DUB was merged with the Dortmunder Ritter brewery, and, in 2002, DUB was renamed the Brauerei Brinkhoff GmbH, in honor of its first brew master Fritz Brinkhoff's. Today, Brinkhoff's No. 1 is an easy-drinking Pils of 5% alcohol by volume that is exported to many countries around the world.