Even in an area as rich in breweries as Franconia, losing one is never easy. Sadly, small breweries close every year for various reasons, but mostly due to the death or aging of the brewers. Some stop brewing and remain open as pubs, in the best of circumstances with a contract-brewed version of their beer. This is the case with Barnikel in Herrndorf. Less often, the pubs close and the brewery just sells its beer to other pubs or the public in bottles. Local legend Meister Bräu in Unterzaunsbach currently falls into this category. These small enterprises are often one-man or one-man/one-woman shows and though I’ve seen them run by people well into their 70s, at some point, it’s just not feasible.
cozy interior & entrance of Kitzmann Brauschanke
More odd is when larger breweries shut their doors. This is the case with the very surprising closure of Kitzmann in Erlangen on September 30, 2018. It came as quite a shock to the people of Erlangen, and even the employees of the brewery that had been open since 1712. It appears it just wasn’t lucrative enough, with falling beer sales and increased costs. At any rate, the classic old brewery will be torn down and replaced with condos. I’m sure Erlangen can use more housing, most German cities do but it will be a sad day when that 300 year old piece of history comes tumbling down.
excellent hot meals at Kitzmann were reason alone to drop by
On the bright side, the brewing rights have been bought up by Kulmbacher, who with some luck, will continue to brew the large portfolio of beers Kitzmann offered. They will also get the rights to provide beer to the annual the Bergkirchweih, one of the biggest Folk Festivals in Germany. That might not sound too exciting but the best part is the brewery tap across the street from the old brewery will remain open and hopefully serving up Kitzmann’s full range. With some sense, Kulmbacher will resist replacing some of the line with their own products, but only time will tell. I, for one, would much rather have a Kitzmann Pils than the Kulmbacher one that could be had in thousands of other restaurants.
Let’s hope the Kitzmann full range remains on offer
I hope so. I only made it to the brewery once in those 300 years and it was a beauty. I managed to pop inside briefly to take a few photos and sat outside on a fine autumn day, under shady trees, sipping one fine Kitzmann Kellebier from a ceramic mug. Their Dunkles and Märzen were quite good, too. I wondered why I’d not made it there sooner and my wife, enamored with the Apfelküchle, and I made a vow to return soon. Well, it evidently wasn’t soon enough. We’ll still go back but I think no matter how good it might remain, we’ll be sad looking across at some condos rather than the old brewery. Somehow, it just won’t be the same.