Germany's Krombacher buys Vitamalz

Krombacher Brauerei, one of the largest and most successful German breweries with total sales of 6.6 million hectoliters and €702.9million in 2015 shifts further away from the dependence on alcoholic drinks as it acquires Vitamalz, the nation’s second largest non-alcoholic sweetened malt beverage.


After steadily buying out all other members of the Vitamalz Group, Krombacher reported in July that it was sole lincensee of Vitamalzand had 47% of the trademark rights. With effect of September, 16, Krombacher’s managing partner Bernhard Schadeberg (50) has reached his goal. He acquired 53 % from Robert Glaab, managing partner of Glaabsbräu in Seligenstadt for an undisclosed amount.


Vitamalz was invented and patented in 1931 when Ferdinand Glaab, a local brewer from Seligenstadt close to Frankfurt/Main purchased a patent  to retrieve vitamin B1 from yeast cells. But it was not until 1966, when the brand Vitamalz was officially registered. Four years later the Vitamalz Group was formed with finally 13 breweries to brew and locally market the product all over Germany. Well-known breweries, amongst others Haake-Beck (Beck’s), Krombacher, Holsten, Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei, Karlsberg and Tucher, formed part of the group. With the emergence of national beer brands in the 1980s, the regional sales territories of the members begun to blur and quarrels about pricing and marketing started to appear. At the beginning of the 1990s the brand still sold about 650,000 hectoliters before sales dropped to 225,000 hectoliters last year. Consequently the market leadership was lost to main competitor Karamalz. Karamalz, firstly introduced in 1955 by Frankfurt’s brewery Henninger, belongs since the sale of Henninger’s brand rights to local rival Binding (Radeberger Group)and the shutdown of production in 2001 to Henninger’s former subsidiary Privatbrauerei Eichbaum in Mannheim.


Last year, Krombacher sold nearly 1 million hectoliters of softdrinks. In 2006, the Siegerland based brewery acquired the German distribution rights for Schweppes, Oranginaand Dr. Pepper. In 2015 Schweppes sold 778,500 hectoliters (+8.4%) in Germany. Sales of Orangina amounted to 108,000 hectoliters (+6.9%) and Dr. Pepper had an output of 54,500 hectoliters (+16.0%).


Krombacher Fassbrause, another non-alcoholic malt based product, introduced in 2012, is market leader in its segment and sold 91,000 hectoliters (+2.2%) in 2015.


Last but not least one should mention Krombacher Alkoholfrei, a non alcoholic lager beer, which last year reached a record high of 352,000 hectoliters (+1.1%) and is number two in its market behind non alcoholic wheat beer Erdinger Alkoholfreibut ahead of the other non alcoholic lager beers Jever Fun and pioneer Clausthaler

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