Valuable Raw materials from Switzerland

Growing your Raw materials close by, producing a minimum of waste and making full use of available resources: That’s the way the Locher family from Appenzell think. The family brewery from Appenzell is a pioneer in terms of Swissness and sustainability – and has been for a quarter of a century. Brauerei Locher was the first brewery to bring back the commercial cultivation of two-row barley to Switzerland in 1996. And all other raw materials are also carefully selected.


Fresh spring water is the basis of all Locher products. Appenzeller Bier is brewed using spring water from the Alpstein mountain. This pure water, having been filtered and purified on its long journey through the Alpine rock is crystal clear and so clean that it can be used for brewing without the need for processing.



Brauerei Locher reintroduced two-row barley to Switzerland in 1996. At the beginning of the 1990s, each and every grain of barley needed for brewing had to be imported. Karl Locher, owner of Brauerei Locher in its fifth generation, was bothered by this. So without further ado, he decided to do something about it. “Shorter transport, higher quality two-row barley, that’s what we were looking for,” he explains. Karl Locher started collaborating with mountain farmers who were bold enough to try and cultivate barley at an altitude between 1,200 and 1,700 metres above sea level. Barley is normally grown at an altitude of 500 metres or less. Their courage was rewarded, as it turned out that the barley growing in a rougher climate is sturdier and of higher quality. The mountain climate makes the grain more resilient with a intense, nutty aroma. Brauerei Locher is the main buyer of Swiss two-row barley. The revival and resulting the high demand for production has made the cultivation of two-row barley ecologically and economically viable and attractive for Swiss farmers. Brauerei Locher now works with more than 50 mountain farmers and some additional farming operations from Romandy and the plains, who produce a total of 400 tons of two-row barley per year. Barley is the raw material for the malt used in Brauerei Locher’s beers and Bschorle. Despite the difficult conditions – steep terrain, extreme weather, stony soil – mountain farming has some clear advantages. The two-row barley ripens later at high altitude, which means that it grows during a season when the sun is high in the sky. The combination of intense solar irradiation and sudden, extreme cold spells make the Locher two-row barley particularly strong. This is why Brauerei Locher tries to use as much two-row barley from high altitudes as possible.

Appenzell itself lies 1,150 metres above sea level, as does the Seealpsee lake, where Sonja and Peter Gätzi’s farm grows two-row barley. Here, on the exposed mountainside above Appenzell, the Obere Sollegg farm grows high-quality grain, which is immediately processed at Brauerei Locher’s own maltings. Its particular aroma then decides on which of the special beers the two-row barley will be used for.

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Organic – Naturperle was the first beer brewed using hops from organic farming in 1996. Up until then, Brauerei Locher had not been able to source domestic hop. This is not surprising, because the cultivation of hop is cumbersome. From pruning the first shoots in March to harvesting the cones at the end of August, the diva amongst the cannabaceae demands a lot of tender love and care. The Reutimann family’s Hopfen Tropfen GmbH from Stammheim near Zurich, and Schlatthof in Wolfwil in the canton of Solothurn know exactly how to care for these high-maintenance plants. Both operations have been reliable suppliers to Brauerei Locher since 1996, ensuring that the brewery has organic hops in top Bio-Suisse quality available.

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Bschorle is a fusion of premium malt with apple and pear juice from the Oberegg region in the Appenzellerland. The alcohol-free Bschorle impresses with its fresh, effervescent and harmonious bouquet of fruit and a subtle malt aroma. Bschorle is rich in folic acid and vitamin B. This refreshing beverage encompasses juice from 28 different types of apples and pears as well as premium malt. The recultivation of almost forgotten types of apples and pears fosters biodiversity and reduces the need to care for the orchards. The grass around the trees can be used for pasture and the high grass attracts small creatures that hunt pests, ensuring a biological equilibrium.

High-stem fruit trees are long-lived and provide a rich harvest for many years.

The idea to combine apples, pears and malted barley to create a refreshing beer spritzer goes back to Fredi Klee, a farmer from Oberegg. Having been dissatisfied with the low prices achieved for his fruit from high-stem trees, he was on the lookout for a new market to sell his apples and pears from more than 2,500 trees growing at the village of Oberegg. The aim was to prevent farmers from having to cut down trees simply because they weren’t viable, and to put the land to a different use.

Fredi Klee then found Mosterei Kobelt, a fruit press and distillery in Marbach SG, and soon Brauerei Locher AG from Appenzell was invited to join the undertaking. After a three-year development phase, the first batch of Bschorle arrived at the shops in June 2016. Brauerei Locher AG had been a reliable purchaser of fruit from high-stem trees from the Appenzellerland since 2015. The farmers were happy to have found a good purpose for their apples and pears at last. The extremely fair price paid to the fruit growers provides additional motivation.

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The work of beekeepers and bees is invaluable. With Mielfiore, Brauerei Locher AG wants to contribute to a sweet, healthy future for Swiss bees.

Intercantonal – from Romandy to Albula Valley: Beekeepers from all over Switzerland contribute honey for our Mielfiore.

Generous – for each bottle sold, we donate five centimes to the association BienenSchweiz, the Swiss association of German and Rhaetian beekeepers. The Mielfiore lager wit honey received the European Beer Star 2020 in gold at the BrauBeviale in Nuremberg. Mielfiore is enriched with honey from 30 beekeepers with gold seals from across Switzerland.

Diverse – the sources of nectar the bees collect from are as multi-facetted as the plant life of the regions they live in. The hard-working insects collect nectar from mountain flowers, orchards, meadow flowers, deciduous trees and rape fields. To ensure that bees continue to have a wide selection of flowers at their disposal into the future, caring for domestic flowering plants in our gardens, parks and landscapes is indispensable. What’s more, we must not use insecticides and pesticides, as they endanger the bees.

Busy – to produce 1 kilogramme of honey, bees have to pollinate 1.5 million flowers, covering a distance of twice the earth’s circumference. This allows beekeepers to harvest between 10 and 30 kilogrammes of honey per year. When buying honey, consumers should take care to buy honey with the golden seal, the sign for top domestic quality. In order to use the gold seal, beekeepers have to agree to have their operations regularly audited to requirements that go beyond the standard food safety regulations. It goes without saying that Mielfiore is only made with Swiss premium honey carrying the golden seal. All of our suppliers are members of Apisuisse, the umbrella organisation of Swiss beekeepers’ associations.

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Brauerei Locher’s Appenzeller Naturperle was the first Swiss beer that earned the Bio Suisse Bud organic certification label. Both the barley malt and the hop that go into this beer are sourced from certified organic farms. The water comes from our own spring and is so clean it does not need purification. We want to keep things this way, and that is why we are doing everything we can to protect the source area around the Säntis mountain. Today, we offer a whole range of organic beers. In addition to Appenzeller Naturperle, these are Gran Alpin, Vollmond Bier and Appenzeller Weizenbier.


The promotion of Swiss products is one of the core values of Brauerei Locher AG. In 1996, Brauerei Locher AG collaborated with a large group of mountain farmers from the Grisons and their distribution company, Gran Alpin, to revive and sustainably promote the commercial cultivation of two-row barley in Switzerland. Today, the proverbial seed for the special Appenzeller Bier is sowed on Europe’s highest two-row barley fields, at an altitude between 1200 and 1700 metres above sea level. Supporting the cultivation of this barley variety in the Swiss mountains helps Brauerei Locher to guarantee the consistentlyhigh quality of our Appenzeller Bier while making an important contribution to the preservation of the Alpine habitat.

The beauty and uniqueness of the Grisons lies in its ancient cultural landscape shaped by its people. To look after this stunning habitat and to preserve its diversity makes both ecological and economic sense. By supporting organic mountain crop cultivation, Gran Alpin makes an important contribution to preserving the Alpine habitat for its people and visitors alike.

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