Germany: Mahrs Bräu being sold to AB InBev?

Mahrs Bräu from Bamberg/Germany could be the next craft brewery to be bought by AB InBev’s craft beer unit The High End, according to sources close to the industry. Owner Stephan Michel (46) is said to look for a buyer for the 347 year old brewery, which has been owned and run by his family for the last 122 years.  Michel, a childless fourth generation descendant has already close contacts to the American craft beer scene. There are several videos on Youtube showing Michel with celebrities of the American craft beer scene like Greg Koch (Stone Brewing) or Ken Grossmann (Sierra Nevada). With the latter he agreed last year to launch Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest beer 2016 as a collaboration brew with Mahrs Bräu.

Bamberg with its 70,000 inhabitants and part of the town being a UNESCO World Heritage site has a long and rich history of beer (inside.beer, 18.4.2017). The earliest proof of a brewery is from 1122. The city and the surrounding area have the highest density of breweries in the world. 30 kilometers around Bamberg there are about 80 breweries.

Eight operating breweries and two commercial maltings (one with its own brewery) are located within Bamberg. By far the biggest brewery is Brauerei Kaiserdom with a production of 320,000 hl (thereof about 150,000 hl sold under its own brand) followed by Brauerei Fässla (38,000 hl), Schlenkerla (20,000 hl), Mahrs Bräu (15,000 hl), Brauerei Keesmann (15,000 hl), Brauerei Spezial (6,000 hl), Klosterbräu Bamberg  (4,000 hl, since last year owned by Brauerei Kaiserdom) and  Brauerei Greifenklau (1,500 hl).

Internationally best known and a true tourist magnet is 6th generation family owned Schlenkerla and its smoked beer Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. But next comes already Mahrs Bräu, which is now said to be up for sale.

The brewery produces about 10 different beer types from which 4 are seasonal brews. 10 employees produce about 15,000 hectoliters of lager beer. Mahrs Bräu Weisse, a wheat beer and other top fermented beers are produced by a befriended brewery.

Located in a housing area, additional space for enlargement of the brewery is restricted. A financially solid partner with an international sales network could therefore be the solution for a further growth of the company.

Observers believe that AB InBev’s could be interested to add a German craft brewery to its international portfolio. After buying several craft breweries across the United States, High End started buying also breweries in Europe and Asia. In December 2015 the group purchased Camden Town Brewery from London/UK. In April 2016 followed Birra del Borgo from Rome/Italy and in September 2016 Brouwerij Bosteels from Buggenhout/Belgium (inside.beer, 9.9.2016). In January 2017, AB InBev's capital arm ZX Ventures (the Z stands for Zythology, the study of beer making and the X stands for experience) purchased craft brewer La Virgin in Madrid/Spain (inside. beer, 12.1.2017), followed  in March by Boxing Cat Brewery from Shanghai/China (inside.beer, 4.3.2017).

Therefore, it seems to be only too consistent to buy now also a small brewery in Germany. Mahrs Bräu would certainly be a good fit.

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