Beck's is a brand of the brewery Brauerei Beck & Co in the north German city of Bremen. Owned by local families until February 2002, it was then sold to Interbrew for 1.8 billion euros (2.1 billion U.S. dollars). The brewery was formed under the name Kaiserbrauerei Beck & May o.H.G. on 27 June 1873 by Lüder Rutenberg (8 February 1816—14 June 1890), Heinrich Beck, and Thomas May. On 1 October 1875, Thomas May left the brewery which then became known as Kaiserbrauerei Beck & Co.
Beck's has for many years also been brewed under license in Namibia, which prior to World War I was a German colony. It is also today brewed in Bulgaria, Australia, Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, China, Nigeria, Romania, Turkey and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Beck & Co. has always been a strong exporter, and the beer thus has a taste more akin to other internationally marketed brands than to mainstream German beers. After 1842, the way beer was brewed changed drastically with the advent of the brewing style perfected in the Bohemian city of Pilsen. Beck's birthplace is Bremen, lying on the North German plain connected to the sea by the Weser river.
Beck's label, a key, is the mirror image of the coat of arms of Bremen. Since Beck's is located on the river of a port city, it was easy to ship out its beer to the world at large and become an international beer powerhouse. Beck's is most famous for its Pilsener lager beer consisting of the following ingredients: two row spring barley from the south of England, a special strain of yeast, ice-age glacier water from the "Rotenburger Rinne," plus hops from the famous "Hallertau Hop Gardens" in southern Germany. Beck's marketing material claims that it follows the strict Reinheitsgebot, the German Purity Law of 1516. As with virtually all modern beers, cultured yeast is an ingredient, which was later approved in an amendment to the original purity law. The Reinheitsgebot of 1516 is frequently cited in advertising and marketing material, but modern commercial breweries do not adhere to its requirement. Beck's was the first German beer company to use green bottles. This causes the beer to acquire a "skunky" aroma if exposed to sunlight or fluorescent lighting.
The St. Pauli Girl Brewery is housed within the Brewery in Bremen. Consequently Beck's and St. Pauli Girl beers are very similar in nature. St. Pauli Girl is not consumed in Germany and is only exported to the United States where it is marketed as an exotic and prestigious German beer. In the past three years, Beck's has introduced new flavored beers into its selection such Beck's Green Lemon, Beck's Level 7, and Beck's Chilled Orange.
In the 2006 movie Beerfest, Beck's is erroneously referred to as the third best beer in Bavaria, probably due to its international recognizability, although it isn't from Bavaria at all. Beck's is the number one German export beer by volume and is sold in over 100 countries. The largest markets for Beck's outside Germany are the United Kingdom, the USA, Italy, Australia, Ukraine, Romania, and Russia.
Beck's sponsors the Beck's Fusions event. In 2007 the first Beck's Fusions on Trafalgar Square in London was headlined by The Chemical Brothers. In 2008, Beck's Fusions is moving to Manchester. Extending to a three day event headlined by Massive Attack.
As part of the Beck's Fusions event, Beck's are running the Beck's Live Studio competition. Artists from various art communities (including YCN) are invited to create a Beck's label inspired, and in time to, a music track - Dawn of the Dead by Does it Offend You, Yeah?.
A larger shortlist of winners will be invited to take part in a Beck's Live Studio online event in the autumn of 2008. They will create live art pieces inspired by music mixed by people contributing to the project on the Beck's website.