The more than 300 year-old traditional Kitzmann Bräu from Erlangen near Nürnberg in Bavaria, Germany, has unexpectedly stopped its production and sold the real estate as well as brand and distribution rights.
The former owner, Peter Kitzmann, who had been running since 1992 the brewery in the 5th generation had quietly prepared jn recent months the sale and closure of the brewery before he stepped with his plans in front of the workforce and the public. Last Friday he told the shocked 38 employees at an extraordinary works meetings to close production three days later and to dismiss all staff. Since the turn of the century, when production reached a peak with about 120,000 hectoliters the brewery was in steady decline. Last year, sales hardly reached 50,000 hectoliters.
"A long-lasting decline in sales, rising production costs and personal reasons are forcing us to cease operations," said Peter Kitzmann. It was the hardest decision of his life, the owner and CEO outlined the last weeks and months. "Our efforts to save the brewery were not successful, despite all efforts."
The site of the brewery in the heart of downtown Erlangen has already been sold to Sontowski & PartnerGroup, a local developer of real estate. The new owner will probably demolish the old brewery buildings and build new condominiums, similar to the neighboring town of Forchheim where Sontowski & Partnerhas already developed the site of another abandoned brewery.
Brand and distribution rights of Kitzmannbeer have been sold to Kulmbacher Brauerei, which is part of Paulaner Brauereigruppe in which Heineken in turn owns a minority share. Kulmbacher sold last year 3.14 million hl, had a turnover of 220 million Euros and employed 916 people.
With the brand and distribution rights, Kitzmann has also sold the rights to supply the Erlangen Bergkirchweih. The beer and folk festival, which has been held annually on Whitsun since 1755, is with around 1.2 million visitors during 10 days the third largest of its kind in Bavaria after the Oktoberfest in Munich and the Gäubodenfestin Straubing.