Germany: 400-year old brewery closes due to coronavirus restrictions

The coronavirus has now achieved what 2 world wars, famines, recessions and economic crises could not do. After more than 400 years the family-run Wernecker Brewery closes its doors forever. Wernecker, located in the Lower Franconian district of Schweinfurt sells the majority of its 20,000 hl of beer in its own restaurants and at various festivals. Both have now come to a standstill due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"There is a lack of sales at all ends," says Christine Lang, daughter of managing director Hans Jörg Lang.  And nobody knows how long this will last. What doesn't make the situation any better: the traditional brewery is a seasonal business which depends very much on local festivals during the outdoor season and the “beer garden business”.

Just at the start of this year’s season everything had to be canceled. And nobody really dares to plan for summer because even larger events like the European Football Championship or the Olympics in Japan are being cancelled or at least on stake.

The brewery has now applied for emergency aid from the government. But it is already clear: this state support will not even cover the salary payments of the 15 employees. And: the exact conditions for the subsidy are not clear yet, according to Christine Lang.

For her, only one thing is clear at the moment: the corona crisis will cost many companies "an infinite amount of strength, equity capital and some even their heads". The same applies to restaurants, she says, which "have had to struggle before".

Beer has been brewed at Wernecker since 1617; the company has been owned by the Lang family since 1861. Andreas and Christine Lang were ready to take over the business from their father Hans Jörg Lang. On September 30, 2020, the brewery in Werneck is scheduled to close forever.

"After the last three years of recovery and a lot of events in 2020, the coronavirus has put a spoke in our wheel," says Hans Jörg Lang. The family is "endlessly tired and will not take up the new, huge fight."

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