Germany: The end of the Pfungstadt brewery is sealed

"The end of the brewery is sealed," says Uwe Lauer, owner of Pfungstädter Brauerei GmbH, a regional brewery close to Frankfurt/Germany with a production of about 130,000 hl. Lauer informed his almost 70-strong workforce at a works meeting on Wednesday that the company will close next year and that the site must be handed over to the property owner Conceptaplan by December 31, 2023. The real estate investor wants to build apartments on the site.

On Monday, the Pfungstadt city councilors rejected with a large majority the citizens' initiative with 4.600 supporters for the survival of the brewery for legal reasons. The decisive factor was a formal error; the deadline for submitting the request had been exceeded.

Since a brewery relocation to a greenfield site, as proposed by the city council, would take years to get building and emission control permits there is no other solution but to close the brewery and lay off the staff, Lauer said.

Employees are expected to receive their notices at the end of December or beginning of January. The last beer after 190 years will probably be delivered by the end of March.

The Pfungstadt brewery has been in a steady decline for decades and currently uses only about 40% of its capacity. In 2019, the last year before the COVID19 pandemic, the brewery had a turnover of EUR 17 million, including EUR 7 million in the HoReCa sector. The export share was 20 percent. This year, the brewery has a production of about 130,000 hl and the turnover is expected to fall to EUR 15 million.

In February 2020, the 97 partners of the brewery agreed on a sale but the initially favored investor Uwe Dieter Krück and his real estate company SpectrumInvest failed when it became clear that Krück was not interested in the brewery but only in the real estate of the brewery. (, 10.07.2020)

In June 2020, the brewery had to file for bankruptcy. One month later also the sale to a well-known and respected local brewing group owned by Wolfgang Scheidtweiler failed, when the creditors' committee in the protective shield proceedings decided to sell the brewery instead to another investor from outside the industry with local roots, Uwe Lauer and his engineering company Lauer GmbH. (, 13.8.2020)

The problem, however, was that by then the brewery site had already been sold to the real estate developer Conceptaplan, who also made no secret of his desire to build a residential building there. It can be speculated that Lauer was hoping for an extension of the lease or that the change in the zoning plan for residential development would not be approved by the city. In the end, it has to be seen whether the investor has gambled and lost or has one last ace up his sleeve.

At least it doesn't look like that right now, even if Peter Winter, Managing Director of the Pfungstadt Brewery, is still spreading optimism. "We have to see if there is still a solution," he told the press. However, if the brewery has to stop now its production, “the brand is dead," he is convinced.

Within only a few months, the brewery in Pfungstadt has become the third brewery in the Rhine-Main area of Germany to close its doors forever.

On September 29, Germany's largest private brewery group Radeberger announced to close Binding Brewery, the only remaining industrial brewery in Frankfurt/Main. (, 29.9.2022)

On August 15, the 150-year-old private Bischoff Brewery from Winnweiler, 100 km southwest of Frankfurt, Germany, announced to shut down operations after a reorganization under self-administration failed and potential investors backed out. (, 15.8.2022)

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