Austria: New Brau-Union CEO buys beverage wholesaler Ammersin

Brau Union Austria, Austria’s arm of international Heineken group, is buying a majority interest in Rudolf Ammersin, a beverage wholesaler based in the outskirts of Austria’s capital Vienna. Ammersin employs a staff of about 100 people and has been owned and operated by the same family for five generations. The 120 year old company offers more than 7.500 products and is one of the country’s leading wholesalers of craft beers with more than 1.500 national and international brands.

Although Brau Unon and its new Managing Director Magne Setnes assure that Ammersin will operate independently and continue to support the whole portfolio of craft beers, people familiar with the industry are skeptical about it. The move will for sure be advantageous for the Austrian beer market leader to gain an even stronger foothold in the growing craft beer market segment.

Magne Setnes (47), a Norwegian by birth, has started his job with Brau-Union earlier this month. He replaced Markus Liebl (62), who had been CEO of Brau Union for the last 12 years and successfully managed brands like Gösser, Puntigamer, Zipfer or Schwechater and 2.300 employees. Brau-Union accounts in total for about 5 million hl and has sales of more than €700 million.

Before retiring, Liebl will stay for two more years CEO of the Brau Union Holding, which comprises not only of the 8 breweries of Brau Union but also the group’s export company as well as two specialty breweries under the roof of Vereinigten Kärntner Brauereien.

Setnes is not new to Austria. He has been working with Brau Union from 2011 until 2015 as Production and Supply Chain Director before joining Heineken’s management team in the Netherlands as Senior Director Global Commerce Innovation.

As of February 1, Viktor Gillhofer, currently sales director off-trade at Brau Union Austria will assume the role as CEO Heineken Serbia. His successor is Klaus Schörghofer, who already is with Brau Union since 2005 and manages several key accounts in the off-trade sector.

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