Breweries close as German thirst for beer fades

1st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 February 2005 , BERLIN - The shake-out in the German brewery business is gathering pace as a trend to healthy living and a fall in beer drinking in the country continues to fall.

1 February 2005 

BERLIN - The shake-out in the German brewery business is gathering pace as a trend to healthy living and a fall in beer drinking in the country continues to fall. 

On Tuesday, two of Germany's leading breweries, the Kindl in Berlin and the Brinkhoff in Dortmund, annoucned that they are to shut down their operations. 

Food and beverages group Dr. Oetker, Germany's biggest single beer producer, which has two breweries in each city, confirmed on Tuesday it would be concentrating future production at one site in each, but would keep the old brands going.

The German Brewers' Federation says Germany has 1,270 breweries, many of them small family-run concerns that face takeover or closure as the shrinking market heats up competition. This is the first time two major breweries have been shut.

Last month, the German mineral water federation VDM said per capita consumption of bottled water last year was 123 litres, well ahead of the 117 litres of beer consumed by the average German.

Bielefeld-based Dr. Oetker is named after its pharmacist founder who became a millionaire by selling baking powder and recipe books. A Century later, his heirs have expanded the business into beer, pizza and other ready-to-consume supermarket products.

Family-owned Oetker took over brewing group Brau und Brunnen (BuB) a year ago, determined to make it more profitable by integrating it with Oetker's existing Radeberger beer division while keeping up 40 labels.

Dortmund is Germany's main beer-exporting centre, and Brinkhoff's No. 1 has been built up in recent years into a national brand. Beer from the capital city's 130-year-old Kindl brewery is also sold nationwide.

Brinkhoff production will move next year to Oetker's DAB brewery in Dortmund. Kindl will be brewed at the Schultheiss brewery in Berlin. The group said it would invest EUR 50 million in modernization while eliminating 275 jobs.

Ulrich Kallmeyer, head of Oetker's beer division, said an unfinished office complex for Brau und Brunnen in Dortmund would be sold as it was not needed.

[Copyright DPA with Expatica 2005]

Subject: German news

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