Chopfab craft beer: a Swiss success story

The number one on the Swiss craft beer scene has been on the market for less than four years. With their instantly memorable name of Chopfab or “Heads off” (Swiss-German for “Bottoms up!”) Doppelleu Brewery’s top-fermented beer styles captured the mood of the moment so well that the next logical step in their career was to invest in a powerful and flexible keg racking system from KHS.

“Chopfab” or “Heads off” may sound rather violent but is in fact quite an innocent Swiss-German expression inviting you to flip the ‘head’ or lid off a bottle of beer before enjoying it. This friendly indigenous command inspired Philipp Bucher and Jörg Schönberg to name their new beer label Chopfab in 2012. The two young founders from Winterthur in Switzerland had little brewing experience when they started out yet were passionate beer drinkers with a background in business economics who were able to read the signs of the times. They noticed that the worldwide trend for craft beer had hit Switzerland a little late and thus set up Doppelleu Brewery, positioning themselves in the Swiss craft beer niche with Chopfab.

Their top-fermented specialty beers are aimed at a young target group geared towards enjoyment and lifestyle. “We now offer eight beers which are not too mad but easily drinkable and perfect for those new to craft beer,” says Bucher. Seasoned craft beer aficionados can try the six more creative brews. “Here, we also use more unusual ingredients, such as orange peel, coriander or ginger, to create very special flavors."

Philip Bucher is a sales and marketing professional with many years of experience under his belt. His concept of mouth-to-mouth propaganda and frequent visits to trade shows and events has paid off. After less than four years Doppelleu is the unchallenged number one on the craft beer scene in Switzerland. The brewery has thus had to increase its capacity an impressive three times from an initial 5,000 hectoliters to 100,000 hectoliters at the time of writing. Space therefore quickly became tight in the production shop; what the brewery needed was a powerful and flexible keg racking system – for after chiefly filling its beers into bottles and cans Doppelleu now wanted to gain a stronger foothold in the hospitality trade by selling its beer in kegs.

The KHS Innokeg CombiKeg fitted in perfectly with Doppelleu’s business concept. The machine’s compact and modular design combined with a high level of efficiency had the young businessmen immediately convinced. The infeed and discharge conveyors for the kegs are placed next to one another to save space; not just the interior washing and racking stations but also the exterior washing stations and media tanks are integrated into the system. Another enormous plus for the Swiss in their cooperation with KHS was that the Dortmund systems supplier pulled forward production at their plant in Bad Kreuznach in Germany for the brewery’s urgent order, readying the system for operation in Winterthur within a very short time indeed. Nothing thus stands in the way of many, many more cheerful cries of “Chopfab!” – without anybody losing their head in the process!

Five facts: Doppelleu
  • When? Founded in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 2012
  • What? Craft beer for beginners (eight styles) and experts (six styles)
  • In which containers? Glass bottles, kegs and cans
  • How much? Capacity of 100,000 hectoliters per year
  • To which regions? Switzerland and neighboring countries

„Technically speaking, the people at KHS were the only ones to offer us a system which was compact enough to fit into our production shop without making any compromises regarding performance or speed.“

Master brewer Philipp Wagner

„Sampling sessions are extremely important in making our beer known to the public. After all, beer is a matter of taste.“

Managing director Philip Bucher