Germany: Oldest single family owned brewery handed over to the 21st generation

Privat-Brauerei Zötler from Rettenberg, Germany, the oldest brewery, which is owned since its beginning by one single family, has handed over the management of the company to the 21st generation of the family. The brewery in the district of Oberallgäu in Bavaria, which claims to be the "Most South Brewery Village of Germany", was founded on January 25, 1447 by Conrat Bach. On January 1, 2018, that is 571 years later, Niklas Zötler (31), a descendant in the 21st generation of the same family took over the helm of the company from his father Herbert Zötler III. (65), who ran the brewery for the last 30 years.

Niklas Zötler studied economics before being trained for one year as a brewing technician and beer sommelier at the Doemens school in Gräfelfing close to Munich, Germany. He joined the family business in 2013 at the age of 27 as a product manager.

His grandfather Herbert Zötler II., a studied brewmaster, took over the brewery after the second world war from his mother, and was able to grow the brewery within 40 years from 2,500 hl to 75,000 hl before handing it over to his son Herbert Zötler III. in the early 1990s. Herbert Zötler III. started to transform the traditional brewery into a modern experiential brewery with a variety of new innovative beers and a visitor center, which opened in 2005.

In 2009 he also became a member of  Freie Brauer (Independent Brewers), a community of currently 39 leading independent and family-owned breweries in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, campaigning  for the preservation of art of brewing and beer variety.

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