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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tap Handle #553: Jever - Friesland Pilsner

Tap size:  9.75"
Rarity:  Scarce
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Jever beer coaster featuring
the Westhever Lighthouse
This is a rather unusual tap - the top is a lighthouse, but the bottom looks like a glass of beer. The lighthouse top is very similar in appearance the one found on to Cisco's Sankaty Light tap handle. Although I'm not quite sure which lighthouse it represents, I believe it might be the Westerhever Lighthouse, which lies northeast of Jever across the North Sea. There are other, closer lighthouses to Jever, but for some reason this lighthouse has some kind of significance to the brewery (see the coaster to the upper right). Turning attention back to the tap, in what I consider a nice touch, the brewery's name appears as raised green letters on the surface of the beer glass, rather than being a decal. Speaking of decals, there is one under the brewery's name that states the beer variety. Near the top is another decal with an image of the old brewery and the words "Aus Dem Friesischen Brauhaus Zu Jever" which means "From The Friesian Brewery In Jever". A third decal is found near the bottom and it reads "Imported From Germany", which means this tap was most likely used in the U.S. The front and back are identical to each other, as are the two sides to each other, so I have only taken half of the photos I normally take. The tap is quite scarce; although the Jever Brewery is well-known and successful, it is not on the same marketing level as Heineken or St. Pauli, so these are quite hard to find. Thanks to the simplistic design, they are fairly affordable despite the scarcity.

Click through to read more about the Jever Brewery, their highly regarded Friesland Pilsner, and to see more photos of this enlightening tap...

Drawing of the expanded
Jever Brewery
The Jever Brewery was founded in Jever, Sachsen, Germany in 1848 by Diedrich König. When König opened his "micro-brewery", there were already more than 20 tiny breweries in the town and surrounding region, plus innumerable inns and pubs. König was not daunted because he firmly believed his beer was something special. He was proved right as sales exploded, and less than 20 years later, he was able to build a larger brewery. After his death, his son sold the brewery to Theodor Fetköter in 1867. Fetköter was a bundle of energy, and his family no less dynamic. Not satisfied with merely brewing an excellent beer, he wanted to have the best beer on the market. He placed the first advertisements for his beer in the local paper, had special bottles designed and was even active in local politics. But his main interest was in improving the brewery's equipment. He, and later, his son, introduced numerous innovations. Fetköter initiated the search for a new well for the brewery's use and had the first water pipes laid for the brewery, and also for the town of Jever, in 1894. Thanks to his efforts, the small brewery expanded significantly.

The outbreak of World War I led to one of worst crises ever to hit the brewery. Theodor Fetköter Jr., who had taken over his father's business, was killed during combat in the war. Gerhard Arends took over the business but things went from bad to worse. The most important ingredients, hops and barley, were in short supply, and runaway inflation combined with the difficult economic situation made a sale of the brewery inevitable. In those days, Jever beer was popular well beyond the town's boundaries. Businessmen in Hamburg had become interested in the Friesian Brewery, and in 1922 it was sold to the Bavaria-St.Pauli Brewery. As a result of the sale, and the economic boom known as the Roaring Twenties, many changes happened in Hamburg and Jever during the next few decades. The Jever Brewery was comprehensively modernized and enlarged. The Jever Brewery was primarily used to brew and sell Bavaria-St. Pauli beer, and it was not until 1934 that "Jever Pilsner" was made and sold for the first time. Brewmaster Ernst Böhme had the idea of adding a touch more hops to create the Friesian-bitter taste, and by 1937 this new beer had become nationally recognized.

The crises of the 1930s and 1940s and World War II shook the very foundations of German society. A chronic shortage of fuel after Germany's capitulation in 1945 meant that beer was only supplied to those who collected it direct from the brewery. Jever's commercial manager was forced to drive from farm to farm to buy or barter for barley. But the 1950s saw a change in the brewery's fortunes. A number of beers were being brewed in Jever, but Jever Export (brewed until 1990) was the most popular. Jever Pilsner had not yet made its mark on the market. The brewery went through additional modernization during this period, as increased sales of bottled beer made new facilities necessary. In 1951 the bottle-filling plant had an hourly output of 1,000-1,200 bottles. The "pils trend" in the 1960s boosted sales of Jever Pilsner and a new brewing house had to be built. Work began in 1968 and before long the new mash tuns, a lauter tun and a main filter station were completed. Things were changing at a corporate level too and in 1971 the Bavaria-St. Pauli Brewery was taken over by the Reemtsma Group.

The current, modernized
Jever Brewery
Preparations for construction of another brewing house began in the late 1980s, and after its completion, the brewery claimed to be one of the world's most modern. In 1990 the brewery changed hands again. März AG took over the Bavaria-St. Pauli Brewery, and with it the Friesian Brewery in Jever, before selling both to Brau und Brunnen AG four years later (to which it still belongs). Production improved as well. An exemplary eco-management system now ensures environmentally compatible brewing processes and efficient use of resources. In 1996 the Brewery was awarded an ISO 9001 certificate for high standards in quality management. 1998 was a year for celebrations with numerous events throughout the year marking the 150th anniversary of the Brewery's establishment The Jever brewery sells several different brews, though Jever Pils is their most famous.

Jever Pilsner has a soft yeasty palate, is dry, clean, crisp,and refreshing, and has an assertive hop finish. It boasts an impressive 44 units of bitterness, making it one of the most bitter, hoppy beers in the world. Because the Fiesland water is very soft, Jever can add more hops when brewing to create the unique taste that distinguishes Jever Pilsener from other beers. This remarkable beer is lagered for an impressive 90 days. In his World Guide to Beer, renowned beer connesseur Michael Jackson called Jever Pilsner "The only four star pilsner in Germany". Jever has a clean and refreshing taste that compliments almost any food, but recommended food pairings are lighter foods such as salads, fish and pasta.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.05 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  81 out of 100 (good)

Jever Brewery
18 Elisabethufer
Jever, Lower Saxony, Germany 26441

Source Material
Jever Brewery website

Coaster image courtesy of

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