During a walk along the Müggelspree River, we noticed the striking building of the Berliner Bürgerbräu. It attracted us almost magically and we tried to catch some impressions.
That was the Berliner Bürgerbräu brewery
With the founding of Friedrichshagen, Frederick the Great granted the brewing rights to the feudal schoolmaster Domänenrat Pfeiffer. He built a brewery on the Müggelsee. In 1869, Herrmann Schäfer bought the land and the brewery for 12,000 thalers. He opened a brewery just one year later.
After several changes of ownership, the company was renamed the “Müggelschlösschen Wallburg and Pauli Brewery” in 1888. It was one of the most profitable breweries in the region.
In 1901, the brewery changed its name to a cooperative. The “First Cooperative Brewery of the Innkeepers and Pubkeepers of Berlin and the Surrounding Area” was founded. Beer production really took off during this period. By 1913, 140,000 hectoliters were brewed and sold.
The farm was extensively rebuilt and expanded. A jetty was built and the neighboring Klut’sche Villa was purchased. Alongside Schultheiß and Kindl, Bürgerbräu asserted itself as one of the major beer brands in Berlin.
After initially having to reduce production during World War I, the renamed “First Cooperative Brewery Berlin-Friedrichshagen” was even able to increase production to 450,000 hectoliters by 1925, until it was broken up.
From then on, the brewery was called “Berliner Bürgerbräu AG” or “BBB” for short, as can still be read on the facade today.
Brewery history after the Second World War
The brewery suffered massive damage during the Second World War. As far as possible, production was initially for the Soviet army. In 1949, the company was nationalized. Production of premium beers for export began. For a while, they were exported to 16 countries.
In the 1980s, the brewhouse moved from the old premises to a new building, and the technology was modernized. The old building was preserved and could be visited.
In 1992, after being transformed by the Treuhand into a limited liability company, the brewery was sold to the Bavarian Hofmark brewery owned by the Häring brewing family. There are many rumors about the purchase price. Allegedly, it was the proud price of 1 €.
The owner converted Berliner Bürgerbräu into a family business. The production volume was reduced and employees were laid off. Products shifted to the production of specialty beers: Rotkehlchen, Bernauer Schwarzbier, Dunkler and Maibock. Popular events were held on the factory premises and in the former machine house. There were purchase contracts with restaurants, KaDeWe and the export of the beer even went as far as Japan. Nevertheless, the chemistry between owner and staff did not seem to work properly. It is said that the company did not run smoothly.
In 2010, the history of Berliner Bürgerbräu in Friedrichshagen came to an end. The brewery closed and the trademark rights were sold to the Radeberger Group. They continue to brew the beer elsewhere. Initially, the family wanted to set up a small organic brewery in Friedrichshagen under the name Köpenicker Bürgerbräu. But that was never put into practice.
Since that time, the brewery site stands abandoned and since then, one thinks about what should become of the monument. There were some investors and at present it is in the discussion in a part of the building apartments to let develop.
View through the fence
The view from the other side of the Müggelspree on the old brewery site was already quite promising. We have made and shortly decided on the way to look, what one can still discover so.
Of course, the entire site is cordoned off and well secured. But you can walk quite well along the fences, brewery gates and access roads and take a look at the site.
Through a fence we first discovered a mansion-like building connected with a hall. Flowers were blooming around a dry fountain and this building did not look so unused.
Only a few steps further, we pass a former loading ramp. For a long time, many wagons drove up here every day and were loaded with beer from Berliner Bürgerbräu. From here, the beer traveled around the world.
On a small street we came across the gatehouse of the Berliner Bürgerbräu. The gate to the premises is barricaded and locked, grass grows in front of the gate. No one has gone through the door here for a long time.
Behind it stretches the factory premises. The three distinctive letters BBB stand large on the building, and below them the “loading ramp” signs indicate what happened here not so long ago. I would love to take a look around the old brewery facilities and go on a discovery tour. I wonder if there are still any old brewing kettles to be seen?
At another place, looking through the fence, I spot a brewery wagon. There are still the barrels on it and he even looks decorated. The only thing missing are the brewery horses that pull the wagon.
From a parking lot you can see some tanks and the big hall very well. They are located directly on the water.