Germany: Last-minute rescue for Pfungstädter Brauerei

It was a last-minute rescue for the ailing Pfungstädter Brauerei when Wolfgang Scheidtweiler, owner of a regional brewing group confirmed today to buy the brewery and to continue brewing at the historic brewing site about 40 km south of Frankfurt/Main, Germany.

In February, a first attempt to sell the brewery to the initially favored investor Uwe Dieter Krück and his holding and real estate company SpectrumInvest failed, when voices were raised that the investor was only interested in marketing the brewery site, but not in continuing the brewery itself.

At the beginning of June, the brewery announced that the company had to be restructured using the protective shield procedure in order to avert an impending insolvency due to a drop in sales in the corona crisis. Since then, the company has continued to operate with around 100 employees and is monitored by a court-appointed administrator.

The new plan for the brewery provides for about 90% of the 45,000 square meter brewery site to be sold to Daniel Hopp, a local investor and son of SAP founder, billionaire and Hoffenheim football patron Dietmar Hopp. The Mannheim investor wants to realize "an attractive residential area" on the brewery site in cooperation with the project developer Conceptaplan which already converted a former brewery site and the so-called Henninger Tower in Frankfurt into a residential housing area.

The remaining about 5,000 square meter with the historic and listed part of the brewery will be sold to Scheidtweiler who will restore the historic and listed part of the brewery and add a new building. Scheidtweiler already proved in the past that he is able to rescue ailing breweries.

While obtaining his brewmaster degree in the 1960s at the renowned technical university at Munich-Weihenstephan Scheidtweiler whose family owned the small Gemünder Brauerei in the Eifel region, got to know his future wife Andrea, who originated from the Ruppaner beer dynasty in Constance and who owned Brauhaus Pforzheim. In the following years, Scheidtweiler bought a couple of other breweries nearby including Palmbräu in Eppingen (2010),  Bad Liebenzeller Mineralbrunnen (2013), Brauerei Franz in Rasttatt (2014) and Hatz-Moninger Brauerei in Karlsruhe (2018). Altogether the breweries have a production of about 300,000 hectoliters. The latest acquisition so far, Hatz-Moninger was by far the biggest brewery of the group with about 200,000 hl.

Now Pfungstädter will add another 80,000 hl to the group. The local brewery has seen a steady decline in sales and production in the last decades and currently uses only 40% of its capacity. The company achieved last year a turn-over of EUR 17 million, including EUR 7 million in the HoReCa sector. The export share is 20 percent.

The sale of the brewery has still to be approved by the 97 partners of the company but is deemed certain. The time for a shareholder meeting has not yet been announced.

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