Billy Busch announces plans to shut down Kräftig beer line

DEFIANCE, Mo. – When a Fox 2 News crew found Billy Busch at his property in Defiance, Missouri Tuesday night, the local beer baron refused to comment about the future of the William K. Busch Brewing Company. He only said he would release a statement Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, that statement was made public:

“The William K. Busch Brewing Company is ceasing all operations as the company is shutting down, dissolving, and stopping the brewing of its award-winning Kräftig and Kräftig Light beers due to market demand…

“Kräftig will continue to be available at retailers and other outlets while supplies last, as the company winds down its operations. William K. Busch Brewing Company predicts that inventory will last through September of 2019.”

The final run of beer off of the production line in La Crosse, Wisconsin was earlier this week.

Just five months ago, Busch sat down with Fox 2 and outlined his plans for a brewery in Defiance.

“The vision is to build a destination area where people can come out and enjoy some beer,” Busch said.

Fox 2 asked what the future may hold for Blue Herron Farm, the company’s proposed 20,000 square-foot microbrewery and distillery, which was planned to be built on land Busch.

“Kräftig may pursue that opportunity in the future but nothing is certain and it will depend on numerous factors,” a spokesperson said.

Just recently, a billboard went up at Interstate 44 and Jefferson with the latest packaging; but at this point, those plans appear to be short-lived.

Busch and his team began selling Kräftig and Kräftig Light in November 2011. In the fall of 2018, they announced plans for the microbrewery, distillery, and small petting farm.

St. Charles County officials, who approved the microbrewery plan back in November, said Busch still has about 16 months to present a site plan and erosion plan for the property where the brewery would be built. However, they have not heard a word from the William K. Busch Brewing Company about the plans.

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