It looked so good for drossenfelder brauwerck AG. In 2020, after the disappointing results of the previous years, the trend should finally be reversed. And in january and february, things really took off. "We had the best sales in the history of the brewery", says chairman dieter bauernfeind. But then came corona – of course in the darned seventh year of existence.
There are two reasons why the pub brewery has come through the pandemic reasonably well so far, despite massive economic restrictions. On the one hand, this is due to the coarse, beautiful biergarten, where there is plenty of space to keep your distance. On the other hand, sales of bottled beer have increased enormously. Brewmaster bernd weibbrecht took the initiative. "Bottle filling was the only chance to get our beer to the people", he says. And so he now regularly drives to nankendorf with a 1000-liter tank full of barley juice, where his brewer friend georg schroll fills it into the bulbous half-liter bottles. Now even the special beers like feierwerck (kerwabier), urwerk (smoked beer), kraftwerk (bock) or hexenwerk (cold-hopped pilsner) are available in bottles – when they are in season. Neudrossenfeld’s mayor harald hubner, who is also chairman of the brewery’s supervisory board, is a fan of the night beer, a dark cellar beer with a strong malt content that is available all year round alongside the light tagwerck: "the dark one is a rough draft from our brewmaster."
Significant growth in trading
Dieter bauernfeind has ensured that brauwerck specialties are now also more widely available in bayreuth and kulmbach supermarkets. "The brewery finally has an effective advertising presence", says bauernfeind. The fact that the beers from neudrossenfeld are sold at a high price – a crate costs 22 euros – does not bother the brauwerck fans. Regional specialties are on the rise. And so the sale of beer through the trade has tripled this year and the annual output of the brewery has grown to 50 000 liters – despite corona. But in order to be profitable, we had to brew half as much again. "The key to success is the increase in output", woman the farmer’s enemy. Kaspar schulz’s 10-hectoliter brewing system was easily up to the task. However, master brewer weibbrecht urgently needs more storage capacity. His dream is a second 40-hectoliter tank. An investment that will probably be made palatable to the shareholders in november.
Dieter bauernfeind from unterbruck is now the third man at the helm of the joint-stock company. After his appointment at the beginning of 2019, bauernfeind has made a number of changes to the business to finally get it up and running. Dieter bauernfeind says mistakes have been made in the gastronomy sector. "Yes, we had an image problem. The beer was always undisputed, but the service and our cuisine have improved significantly", he says. Above all, he is pleased that many young people from the village are now helping out and that the working atmosphere is different.
Nevertheless, dieter bauernfeind will probably have to present the 840 shareholders – who had subscribed to 3,400 shares at 250 euros each – with a loss for 2019 as well, after 36,000 euros in 2018.
And you don’t need to be a prophet to predict the next deficit for corona in 2020 – especially now that the lucrative beer garden season is coming to an end. "The winter will be hard, especially because we will miss a lot of festivities like christmas parties, weddings or birthdays because of corona", woman bauernfeind. Nevertheless, he is optimistic about the future: "people have noticed that something has changed here and you can go back to the brewery. If we get through the corona phase, we have good prospects."