Stoudts Brewing Co. is back after closing in 2020

After a two-year hiatus, craft brews from legendary beer maker Stoudts Brewing Co. are once again flowing from barroom taps across the region.

The craft beer icon last week announced a new partnership with Philadelphia-based Evil Genius Beer Co. to resurrect Stoudts Oktoberfest, a traditional German-style lager.

On Monday, Aug. 1, the companies officially relaunched Oktoberfest, distributing kegs to establishments in Berks and across the greater Philadelphia area, and northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Stoudts Oktoberfest has been released in a partnership between Stoudts Brewing Co. and Evil Genius Beer Co. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STOUDTS BREWING CO. AND EVIL GENIUS BEER CO.)

Founded in 1987, Stoudts, Adamstown, Lancaster County, was a catalyst in the rise of craft breweries throughout Pennsylvania and beyond, distributing across 20 states at its height.

Its founder, Carol Stoudt, started the company before terms like “craft beer” and “microbrew” were common, at a time when the American beer market was dominated by a handful of big-name brands.

Stoudt closed her brewery in 2020 after announcing her retirement, but never planned on shelving the brand entirely.

“It’s important to continue this legacy,” Stoudt said in the release. “We just needed the right situation to bring Stoudts back to the forefront of the market.”

Stoudt was looking for a partner to bring her beer back and turned to the co-founders of Evil Genius after getting to know them during beer festivals, said Ryan Keller, Evil Genius marketing director.

“They came to an agreement that allows (Evil Genius) to license the Stoudts brand, to produce and distribute the beer,” Keller said.

Evil Genius Co-Founder Trevor Hayward said he was disappointed when Stoudts announced its closing, and that helping the company relaunch “just made sense.”

“People were missing out on really fantastic beer and we wanted to help bring that back for them,” Hayward said in a statement.

Carol Stoudt, founder of Adamstown-based Stoudts Brewing Company, has relaunched Stoudts Oktoberfest, through a partnership with Evil Genius Beer Company. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STOUDTS BREWING COMPANY AND EVIL GENIUS BEER COMPANY)Carol Stoudt, founder of Adamstown-based Stoudts Brewing Co., has relaunched Stoudts Oktoberfest, through a partnership with Evil Genius Beer Co. (PHOTO COURTESY OF STOUDTS BREWING CO. AND EVIL GENIUS BEER CO.)

The first female head brewer since Prohibition, Stoudt built her brand around a passion for fresh, naturally carbonated beer and the idea of Gemütlichkeit — a German word without a clean English translation — that means like-minded people having a great time together.

“We created Oktoberfest with the hope that you get this feeling with every sip,” Kurt Bachman, vice president of Stoudts, said in a statement.

Keller said excitement for the return of Stoudts has been building ever since Oktoberfest was announced.

“Everyone is really excited, we’ve had people saying, ‘Oh this is my favorite beer, I’ve been dreaming of this moment,’” Keller said.

He said that before closing, Stoudts produced Oktoberfest every fall, and the brew was a seasonal staple for craft beer fans.

Feedback from the Aug. 1 Oktoberfest relaunch has been overwhelmingly positive, Keller noted.

“We’ve contacted a lot of bars … they’ve sold out, basically immediately, of everything we’ve brewed,” Keller said. “Everybody’s kind of clamoring to get their hands on it. I think that stems from (Stoudts) being such a local powerhouse, and almost a family brand name.”

Keller said the company will also resurrect its popular Gold lager later this year, as well as a brand-new winter beer that Stoudt herself is developing.

He said the company plans to continue releasing brews throughout 2023 and beyond.

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