Or is it Sprecher's? We've heard it pronounced many ways.
Spree-cher. Sprech-er. Sprecher's. Spreck-er.
Everyone who encounters Sprecher craft beer and craft soda flavors know the taste is amazing. But especially outside our Midwest origins, not everyone may know how to pronounce Sprecher Brewery.
The origin of the Sprecher name
Sprecher Brewing Co. was founded in 1985 by longtime owner and namesake Randal "Randy" Sprecher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, Sprecher was known as a pioneer in the craft beer field, or "boutique" brewery, as the Milwaukee Journal called it.
The name of the brewery followed in the long line of famous Wisconsin breweries named for their founders, including Frederick Miller, Joseph Pabst and Joseph Schlitz.
As the brewery took off in the 1980s, Randy Sprecher was busy giving brewery tours, and whole families started showing up to these events. Randy needed something for the kids and began brewing non-alcoholic root beer for everyone to enjoy.
Because the root beer was such a success, Randy began bottling it in the same bottles that were being used to package award-winning craft beer. Thus the Sprecher craft soda tradition was born.
Today Sprecher is one of the only breweries in the U.S. that uses fire brewing to create craft beer and soda with bold flavor. It is fire-brewing, plus raw Wisconsin honey, that makes Sprecher Root Beer the best-tasting root beer in the United States.
Though craft beer is still proudly brewed at Sprecher, Sprecher is more known nationally for root beer and craft soda. In fact, Sprecher Root Beer was named as the best root beer in the nation by The New York Times, Tasting Table and others, while Sprecher Cherry Cola was named the best in a blind taste test by Uproxx Magazine.
Perhaps because Sprecher Brewery became more widely known for soda than beer, referring to the brand often become shortened without the brewery description in the title.
Is there an S at the end of Sprecher's?
The most common mispronunciation is by adding an s to Sprecher, seen with or without an apostrophe.
A quick search of "Sprechers" on Twitter turn ups several examples of this variation:
"I found Sprechers root beer at Big Lots [Mind blown emoji]," wrote one Twitter user. (Note: Our store locator tool can be used for finding Sprecher or Sprechers in the wild.)
"You need a Sprechers. That’s the best," wrote another Twitter user in regards to a root beer taste test.
"Sprechers!!! Trust me, once you taste it nothing else compares," said another Twitter user.
"Does Sprechers make beer?" is also one of the top Google searches related to Sprecher.
The Sprechers (or Sprecher's) variation is rooted in some company history. Previously, Sprecher Brewery did license the name to regional restaurants in Glendale, Lake Geneva and Wisconsin Dells. These restaurants were called Sprecher's, a slight differentiation from the name of the brewery location and line of craft sodas and beers.
Unfortunately, these restaurants shut down during the pandemic and are no longer operating. Still, referring to Sprecher the brand as "Sprecher's" has caught on and remains in popular nomenclature.
To be clear, though, there officially is no 'S in the brand name Sprecher.
So how is Sprecher pronounced?
The word and name Sprecher is of German origin. This makes sense considering Randy learned his brewing trade in Germany, named his first beer Black Bavarian, and Wisconsin has a considerable German population due to mass immigration to the region in the 1800s.
"When I came home from Germany, I couldn't stand American beer," Randy Sprecher told the Journal Sentinel in 1985. "So I decided, what the heck, I'll make my own."
When discussing the brewery opening, Sprecher said he expected a primary audience to be "German clubs just aching to get the real stuff."
In Germany, Sprecher means "Speaker" and can also refer to a sports announcer, which was explained to us by a tourist from Berlin named Lars.
Lars explained that he is the "Sprecher" for a gymnastics team, so he was thrilled to pick up a Sprecher shirt when visiting our brewery over this past summer.
"I am the announcer at the team's competitions," Lars said in a follow-up email from Germany. "To the team, I am the 'Sprecher' and they absolutely love that I found the appropriate shirt. They wanted to taste the beer, too, but unfortunately I haven't found it in a German bar yet. Well, we got some good beer here, too, and I‘m looking forward to having a Sprecher when I'm back in Wisconsin."
In Germany, the answer to how a CH sound is pronounced is, as often the case, it depends.
According to German native, author and professor Ulrich Flemming, the "ch" poses problems for people trying to learn German.
"For starters, its pronunciation changes depending on the preceding letter or, if it appears at the beginning of a word, on the following letter or other circumstances," he writes. "To make things worse for English speakers, the resulting sound has, in the most common cases, no English equivalent."
According to Flemming, the ch after an e is pronounced "like a very soft English sh."
"In fact, Germans will understand you if you pronounce it like 'sh'—they will simply assume you learned your German in the Rhineland, where people pronounce the soft ch like English sh."
You can listen to the German pronunciation here, and watch a native German speaker trying –– and failing –– to teach an American how to authentically pronounce Sprecher on YouTube.
In any event, Lars sent me a video of how to pronounce Sprecher in Germany.
To my American ears, he pronounces it like the "ch" in Scottish loch, or "a sound that's sometimes compared to the noise made by people when they clear their throat," according to Flemming's guide.
There is no equivalent for this sound in the English language.
I'm just going to let Lars take it away.
But since there is no real English equivalent to this German sound, this is not how we pronounce Sprecher Brewery.
Here in the U.S., we have adopted what amounts to an Americanized pronunciation of Sprecher, and it's pronounced like Spreck-er.
Today, Randy's daughter Kecia still works at Sprecher, and you can hear her pronounce her own name if you're still not sure how to say it right.
But no matter what you call Sprecher craft beer or soda, you can safely know it's delicious by any other name.