By Jacob Reese
“We never want to sacrifice quality,” Ben Brynildsen, owner of Germania Brew Haus, told The Bridge when asked about the most important part of running a coffee shop. Ben, alongside his brother and sister-in -aw, started Germania back in 2017. “We wanted to build up a community… and have a spot that people could come to that was local.” Ben’s brother, Jared, had the idea to start a bar while living in Hawaii. He loved how its focus was not just on the quality of its drinks but also its friendly atmosphere. When he returned back to his hometown of Alton he planned to open up a bar downtown; Ben was already trained as a barista and so it was decided that in addition to being a bar it would be a coffee shop in the morning and afternoon. The coffee was so successful that in only a matter of five years, Germania has expanded into four different locations.
Everyone, from customers to employees, are always in a great mood and it’s thanks to this that all four locations have such a calm and friendly atmosphere around them. Since the first building opened in 2017, it has been the perfect place for friends to sit and chat, to come and study, or just relax and enjoy the weather on the outside patio with a great view of the Mississippi River.
”I wish I had a place like this to go to when I was in High School,” Ben commented when asked about Germania as a place of community.
But a friendly environment means nothing if the coffee isn’t good. Luckily, Germania has some of the best coffee in the Alton-Godfrey Area. That’s saying a lot when there is a lot of tough competition not just from chain coffee shops but local ones as well. They offer a variety of drinks and coffee variations but their main drink is the latte. There are many different types of latte flavors you can order and several of them (like the Bourbon Butterscotch or the Cinnamon Honey Latte) are custom made.
Of course, operating a business is not always smooth sailing, from the rush hours to the accidents, there are always going to be difficulties when it comes to any shop. When asked about the most difficult part of maintaining Germania, Ben said, “Maintaining a culture is super difficult.” He elaborated, saying that it has been hard to keep a positive environment with the current expansions. Despite this, Ben says he feels as if he has done a good job of finding great staff and managers that keep the workplace friendly. And it seems the customers agree.
Germania Brew Haus is open all week from 6AM to 6PM.
Germania’s Locations are:
Alton – 617 E Broadway, Alton, IL 62002
East Alton – Eastgate Plaza
Godfrey – 5775 Godfrey Rd
Jerseyville – 309 N State St