Germany: Oettinger Takes Over Production of 672-Year-Old Karmeliter-Bräu

At the end of the month, the historic Karmeliter-Bräu in Salz, near Bad Neustadt an der Saale, Germany, will close its doors after 672 years of brewing. However, the brand’s legacy will continue as it has been acquired by the Bavarian Oettinger Brewery GmbH.

Known for its affordable beers, Oettinger produces nearly 7.5 million hectoliters annually, making it one of Germany's largest beverage manufacturers. Alongside beer, Oettinger is expanding its production of soft drinks. The brewery will now take over the production of Karmeliter’s approximately 7,500 hectoliters of beer. Oettinger spokesperson Natalie Bajon assured that "the unique taste of Karmeliter will remain unchanged."

Karmeliter-Bräu’s roots trace back to the Middle Ages, with over 670 years of brewing history. "This rich heritage can now continue," stated Oettinger. Oettinger will brew and distribute Karmeliter beers moving forward. The small private brewery in Salz had recently announced its closure after owner HerbertBrust’s five-year search for a successor proved unsuccessful.

Despite the closure, Karmeliter’s products will live on. "Karmeliter is a cultural icon. Losing this brand and its traditional recipes would have been a huge loss for German brewing culture and beer diversity," remarked Oettinger Managing Director Stefan Blaschak. "With its high quality and impressive history, Karmeliter fits perfectly with our own nearly 300-year-old family business," he added.

The future brewing location for Karmeliter beer is still under consideration. "We are currently evaluating our options," Bajon said. Oettinger plans to begin distributing the Karmeliter-Bräu brand in the coming weeks or months.

Adding Karmeliter to its portfolio is part of Oettinger's strategic realignment, aiming to broaden its base and reduce dependency on market fluctuations. While the focus is on expanding non-alcoholic beverages and innovations for both domestic and international markets, Oettinger continues to prioritize its core business.

"The German beer market has been shrinking for decades but remains significant and profitable," said Oettinger CEO Stefan Blaschak. He believes many brands have the potential to invigorate traditional beer segments. "For Karmeliter, we are focusing on the growth potential of Helles Lager and exploring the continuation of other monastic beer varieties," Blaschak concluded.

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