Birra Menabrea is an Italian brewing company located in Biella, Piedmont. Under this label - distributed since the early nineties by the Birra Forst, but owned by the Thedy family (heir of the founders of the company) - around 100 thousand hectolitres of beer are produced annually, part of which for export in twenty countries.
In more than a century and a half of life, Menabrea has won prestigious awards including, in 1924 alone, four Grands Prix at exhibitions in Milan, Rome, Brussels and Paris. The brewery has always been located in Biella throughout its history; attached to the brewery there is a museum of beer, articulated on a number of historical relics showing the different systems adopted in time for the production of this beverage.
The company was founded as a laboratory for the production of beer in 1846, by the Welf family and brothers Antonio and Gian Battista Caraccio (both from Bioglio) and holders of a cafeteria in Biella.
Between 1854 and 1864, remained alone at the head of renovated laboratory, the Caraccio brothers first rented and then sold the brewery for 95 thousand lire to two Aostan brothers, Jean Joseph Menabrea (who will change his name in Giuseppe since 1961) and Antonio Zimmermann. The company went into the hands of Menabrea alone and his sons in 1872 when the name became G. Menabrea & Figli.
The production of a lager Pilsner and a dark, Munich type, beer (which apparently was highly appreciated by an illustrious Biellese, Quintino Sella) gained the appointment of Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy, conferred by King Umberto I in 1882, to Carlo Menabrea, son of Joseph, who succeeded his father at the head of the company. A turnaround intervened in the ownership of the factory at the turn between the nineteenth and twentieth century (1896-1899), when the brewery was taken over by Emilio Thedy and Agostino Antoniotti, respectively spouses of heirs of Menabrea, Eugenia and Albertina, but this did not change the policy of factory, which gained a steady reputation. At that time the production was 8-10 thousand hectolitres per year.
Since the eighties, always under the direction of the heirs of the family Thedy, Menabrea has further increased its activity. The expansion of the brewery in Biella, combined with an increase in production, until around 36-40.000 hectolitres per year, enabled the brand to emerge from what was until then, at least in terms of production, a mainly provincial dimension. After entry into the Forst Group, which took place in 1991, the brewery still maintained its independence.
In 1996, to celebrate its 150th year of activity, Menabrea has created a new beer, the 150° Anniversario, characterized by the "150th Anniversary" writing on the label around the neck. In 2005 the brewery has created another beer, the Strong, the one with the highest rate of alcohol among its beers. The two products won a combined 4 gold medals in the World Beer Championships.