Germany: Warsteiner assigns consulting firm Roland Berger for a turnaround

Warsteiner, the first self-acclaimed premium brewery in the world and two and a half decades ago the leading brewery in Germany, has assigned strategy consulting firm Roland Berger Strategy Consultants to lead the ailing brewing group out of the crisis. Since 1994, when Warsteiner reached its peak with 6,293,000 hectoliters, the company's annual production was in constant decline. Last year Warsteiner sold about 2.25 million hectoliters worldwide, which was 3.8% less than the year before. In 2017 the brand will hardly reach the 2 million hl mark.

"We have not had any great successes for 20 years, because we may have responded too slowly to developments,” says Martin Hötzel, since three years responsible for sales and marketing of the Warsteiner Group. Hötzel worked before as head of Red Bull Germany and came to Warstein to manage the change.

Eleven years ago, Catharina Cramer (39), managing partner in the ninth generation, joined the executive management of the Warsteiner Group – as the first woman in the history of the company. Since then and especially after the death of her father Albert Cramer in 2012, she also tried without success a reversal of the negative trend.

Roland Berger faces now the task to streamline structures of a large brewing group, which do not fit a much smaller brewery of the current size of Warsteiner any longer. The number of 800 employees is much bigger than those of comparable other breweries.

As of October 1, Alessandra Cama, a former partner in Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, becomes the new managing director strategy and corporate development of Warsteiner. According to the brewery, Alessandra Cama is one of the leading experts in consumer goods & retail. She comes from the GfK, Nuremberg, where she has worked in various management positions since 2011 and most recently was responsible for "operations" as a member of the executive board. Prior to her work at GfK, she co-led various projects in the FMCG area and in the trade as a partner to Roland Berger. Prior to that, she held management positions with Barilla, Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.

The 50-year-old will be part of the project team that has just been launched to lead the company into the future.  Alessandra Cama complements the existing management of Martin Hötzel (sales and marketing), Peter Himmelsbach (technology) and Dr. Carsten Rockholtz (finance).

Warsteiner brewery was founded in 1753 by Antonius Cramer in Warstein, a town located in a hilly and densely wooded region in the center of Germany. The brewery was one of many other breweries in the region until Albert Cramer, Sr. and later his son Albert Cramer, Jr., grandfather and father of Catharina Cramer, laid the cornerstone for the success of the company by applying a progressive marketing and sales strategy in a rather conservative industry. The company was one of the first to focus solely on one brand, a Pilsener style beer, called Warsteiner Premium Verum, which marked one of the first, if not the first, brand to use the term Premium in the beer segment.

In order to meet the increased demand for its beers, Warsteiner built a new brewery in 1976 at the outskirts of Warstein, the Waldpark Brewery (Forest Park Brewery), which could not only produce the one million hectoliters reached in 1978 but also could be enlarged in steps up to 8 million hectoliters.

In 1990 Warsteiner became a brewing group by acquiring Paderborner Brewery, where up to date beer in the entry-level price segment is produced. Four years later Warsteiner founded C.A.S.A. Isenbeck in Zárate, 90 km northwest of Buenos Aires/Argentina. The brewery was sold to SAB Miller in 2010.

Other acquisitions were in 2001 König Ludwig Schlossbrauerei in Kaltenberg and Fürstenfeldbruck/Bavaria,. 2005 Frankenheim Brewery in Düsseldorf and 2007 Herforder Brewery in the namesake city, of Herford.

While the Frankenheim brewing site was closed in 2009 and later sold to Doehler, a producer of natural ingredients for the food and beverage industry, Warsteiner Group still operates production sites in Warstein, Paderborn, Herford, Fürstenfeldbruck, Kaltenberg, Holzkirchen and Thannhausen, the latter four in a cooperation with his Royal Highness Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, great-grandson of the last Bavarian King Ludwig III.

 

 

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