Germany’s Top Beer Brand is State Owned

March 2022

Government ownership and alcoholic beverages are a cocktail that would likely have most beer drinkers turn up their noses. But not in the Black Forest in southwestern Germany. There, the Rothaus brewery which produces the beer Tannenzäpfle, is owned by the regional state of Baden-Württemberg. It has enjoyed centuries of success – and Tannenzäpfle has been named Germany’s top beer brand by business newspaper Handelsblatt and pollsters yougov for six years running.

The brewery has been publicly owned since 1806 and publicly traded since 1922. It’s a one-of-a-kind situation in Germany. “In this way we’re able to act completely independently,” Rothaus head Christian Rasch explained to Handelsblatt. Rasch is the first non-politician to lead the company.

The model is unusual but successful. In 2020 Baden-Württemberg earned more than EUR 10 million in dividends from the brewery, and Rothaus has outperformed its competitors amidst the long-term declines in German beer consumption and coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

It’s also an ecological innovator. This fall, a 9000-square-meter solar power generator will go operational, and the company aims to  produce a surplus of green electricity by 2030. Its newest brewing facility gets 80 percent of its heat from biomass and uses negative pressure to lower the temperatures needed to make beer by 40 percent.

© Rothaus