A last minute rescue for the traditional Pfingstädter brewery seemed to be at hand, when Wolfgang Scheidtweiler, owner of a regional brewing group confirmed last Monday to buy the brewery and to continue brewing at the brewing site about 40 km south of Frankfurt/Main, Germany (inside.beer, 10-8.2020). However, the creditors' committee in the protective shield proceedings decided to sell the brewery instead to Uwe Lauer and his engineering company Lauer GmbH, from the neighboring town Seeheim-Jugenheim.
Lauer has yearly sales of about EUR 120 million and employs 500 people. He plans to build by 2023 a new brewery on a 5,000 square meter section of the former brewery site. The area will be bought back from entrepreneur Daniel Hopp, who recently acquired the entire 45,000 square meter brewery site and wants to build a residential area there with the project developer Conceptaplan.
Allegedly, the determining factor for Lauer was his commitment to take over 45 of the 78 employees and to keep the whole operation from brewing to bottling in Pfungstadt. The other investor, Scheidtweiler, also promised to save as many jobs as possible, but planned to outsource the uneconomical bottling to one of his other companies.In order to allow for the building of a new bottling operation and logistics center, Lauer plans to buy from the city an additional area of 10,000 square meter on the outskirts of Pfungstadt.
"In addition to a climate-neutral new brewery and a modern filling and logistics center, we are planning a trendy BrewPub with its own small craft beer brewery in the historic machine house", confirmed Lauer today.
However, people close to the matter doubt if Lauer can save the ailing brewery which is for decades on a downward trend. He is new to the industry and lacks the necessary specific knowledge how to position the brewery in the highly competitive environment. Scheidtweiler on the other hand is very well acquainted with the industry and has already proven several times how to rescue distressed breweries.
The brewery needs now “to bring the negotiations with Lauer to an end and to work out a corresponding insolvency plan," the creditors' committee said in its statement today. To many observers it does not seem completely unlikely that the eventful history of the brewery could take again another unforeseen turnaround before these negotiations end.