Wednesday 5 September 2012

The Castle Brewery Hamburg

I'm getting used to crazy, impractical 19th-century schemes. And the bankruptcies that usually sooon followed. But this is one of the craziest yet.

A group of British investors for some reason though it would be a good (and profitable) idea to start a brewery in Hamburg-Altona. A brewery that would produce both Lager and British Ales and Porter. They seemd to believe that all they needed to day was brew some British-style beer and German customers would bite their hands off. In reality, they were a couple of decades too late.

Here are the details. They managed to raise a very respectable quarter of a million quid.

"The LIST of APPLICATIONS will OPEN TO-DAY (Wednesday) 17th July, and CLOSE on FRIDAY. 19th July.
THE CASTLE BREWERY (Limited). Hamburg Altona. Germany. Incorporated under the Companies acts 1862 to 1890. Captital £250,000.

Divided into 5,000 Six per Cent. Cumulative Preference Shares of £10 each    £50,000
10,000 Ordinary Shares of £10 each (of which the Vendors take as part of
their purchase money, 2500 Shares, fully-paid up, and 2500 Shares have
already been applied for, and will be allotted in Germany)                                100,000

1000 Debentures, beannz interest at the rate of 5 per cent, per annum,
redeemable at 105% per 100% not before Ist January. 1910. subject to three
months' notice; interest payable on the 1st Jaauary and 1st July each year     £100,000

The whole of the Preference and 50,000L of the Ordinary Shares are now offered for subscription at par, as are also the whole of the Debentures, and are payable as under:—

Preference  Debenture  Ordinary
Shares.  Stock.  Shares. 
On application  £0 10 0  £5 per 100  £0 10 0  per Share. 
On allotment  2 0 0  20 per 100  2 0 0 per Share. 
Three months after 2 10 0  25 per 100  2 10 0 per Share. 
Balance as and when   } 

requested as the work } 5 0 0  60 per 100  5 0 0 per Share. 
progresses                   }

£10 0 0  £100 £10 0 0

Trustees for the debenture holders to be elected by the general body of debenture holders after allotment. 

Major Lamorock Flower, Consulting Engineer. 12, Finsbury-circus, E.C.
W. Roberts Knobel, Esq. (Peter Domecq and Co.),25, Crutched- friars. E.C.
Emil Possehl, Esq. (L. Possehl aad Co.), Shipowners. Luebeck-Hamburg.
A. Gleichmann. Esq.. Army Contractor. 37, Kajen. Hamburg.

BANKERS.— Lloyds Bank (Limited). 5- St. James-street, S.W.
AUDITORS.— C. F. Richardson and Co.. 18. St. Swithin's-lane. E.C.
SOLICITORS.— Messrs. Robinson and Stannard. Eastcheap-buildings, 19, Eastcheap. E.C.
SECRETARY.— A. R. Bendixen. Esq.
Offices (pro tem.)— 3L New Bridge-street. B:atkfriars. E.C.

The Debenture Stock will be secured by a legal mortgage to Trustees of the freehold land and buildings, and by a floating charge on the other assets of the Company.

The Preference Shares will be entitled out of the profits of the Company to a fixed cumulative preferential dividend of 5% per cent, per annum, and will also be entitled to rank in respect of capital in priority to the Ordinary Shares.

The Vendors undertake not to part with any of their Shares for a period of at least five years, and will pay interest during construction at the rate of 3.5 per cent., and all expenses up to the date of allotment of Shares. The Directors will appoint an English Brewery Valuer to report and certify periodically as the work progresses.

This Company is formed to acquire a very valuable freehold site in Hamburg-Altona, with a Restaurant erected on part thereof, together with concession, or licence to brew, granted many years age to a Brewery then standing upon the site, and in consequence of such concession being held in perpetuity, the same has been transferred to the Brewery which it is proposed to be built thereon. The whole of the plans, which are designed on modern lines and passed by the Municipality, have been prepared by Mr. A. Winckler. Architect, of Altona, in conjunction with Mr. Korb. of Munich, the well-known Brewers' Engineer, and approved of by Mr. Blab, until recently Head Brewer at the Elbschloss Brewery. Hamburg, whose services have been specially retained for the erection and completion ofthe Brewery.

It is proposed, in conjunction with the Brewery, to erect an additional Restaurant (the licence for which has already been acquired) and handsome residential flats, for which there is a good demand in the neiahbourhood. The site is particularly suited for the purpose, being in the midst of a densely-populated and beer-drinking district. It is bounded by three important streets, close to the new fruit, fish, and vegetable markets, which are just completed, and only about 200 yards distant from the River Elbe, the landing stages, and shipping wharves. These facts in themselves show a good prospect for the outlet of the beer, in addition to which it is evident that a large saving will be effected in transport and labour as compared with other breweries, most of which carry on business under far less favourable circumstances. The sloping formation of the ground offers the rare advantage of enabling all the storage cellars to be built underground. There are two wells on the site which have been thoroughly tested, and it has been found that they are capable of supplying more than sufficient water for the Brewery. The water has been most carefully analysed and reported upon by some of the leading German chemists, viz.: —

Dr. H. Gilbert. Hamburg,          Dr. A. Langfurth. Altona.
Dr. Hirsch, Royal Academy,     Dr. Reinke, Royal Academy, Weihenstephan.

and these reports and analyses have been submitted to the well-known brewery chemists Drs. E. R. Moritz and C. Harris Morris, of 72. Chancery-lane, W.C, whose report is as follows : —

Gentlemen,— "We have considered the four analyses and reports (by Drs. Reinke, Hirsch. Gilbert, and Langfurth), upon the water referred to in the letter of Mr. A. Zum Bach. dated October 12th. 1894. Having regard to the strict agreement of these different Reports, and to the repute of the chemists who made them, we are of opinion that they may be considered accurate.

Judging the water upon the reports referred to, we are of opinion that it is organically pure, and very well suited in this, as in other respects, to the brewing of Pale and Mild Ales (both "Stock "and "Running") on the English system. The mineral Constituents of the water are, in fact, very similar to those of many of the well supplies of Burton-on-Trent,
Yours truly,

E. R. MORITZ. F.J.S., F.C.S., Consulting Chemist to the County Brewers' Society.
G. H. MORRIS. F.J.S., F.C.S.

Hamburg-Altona is the largest export and import city on the Continent, and contains a population of about 250,000, and the consumption of beer is necessarily large, as by the official returns made in 1893 (the last issued) no less than 298,00 hl., equal to 185,800 barrels, were imported into the town, in addition to that already brewed there. It can be thus seen that there is expected to be a demand, not only ample but more than sufficient to absorb the whole of the beer capable ot beiug brewed in the proposed brewery.

The Licensing Laws in Germany differ very materially from those in England, and offer far more security. It should also be mentioned in this connection that the system of "tied-houses," as understood in England, is carried out but in a very small minority of cases in Germany, so that it is not proposed to expend a large sum of money on acquiring licensed premises, but it is confidently believed by the Company that, looking to the facts above stated, a very large trade can be secured at once.

From the analyses of the water, too. it will be seen that it is exceedingly suitable for the brewing of English beers, and as so far as the Company is aware, there is no other Brewery of any importance in the whole of Germany and Austria producing English beer, it is anticipated that a very large trade in this alone can be done, not only locally, but throughout Germany and Austria.

The extraordinary success of nearly the whole of the English Breweries which have been recently put upon the market is so well known that it is hardly necessary to give the figures, but that this is not confined to England alone may be seen from the followiag official quotations with reference to the German Breweries.

Dividend.  Value of Shares. 

1893 1894

Per cent.  Per cent.  Percent. 
Kulmbacher Export Brewery 29 23 200
Dortmund Brewery  26 2-3  26 2-3  432
Dortmunder Union Brewery 18 18 327
Felsenkeller Brewery, Plauen 28 23 551
Friedrichshohe Brewery, Berlin  16 13 306.5
Vereins Brewery, Leipzig  15 15 262
Linden Brewery  28 28 352
Lowenbrau Brewery, Munchen  20 20 423
Reisewitz Brewery  20 21 415
Schultheiss Brewery, Berlin 12 15 271.5
Schloss Brewery, Chemnitz 30 33 600

The proposed Brewery will be capable of producing — 47,000 barrels Lager Beer: 23,500 barrels export; 23,500 barrels Porter and Ale ; 6250 barrels Beer for Bottling: 25,000 barrels Small Beer.
The minute profit and loss account, details of which will be sent post free on application, shows that when only reckoning with two-thirds of what the Brewery will be capable of producing, the net profit is estimated to realise a dividend of about 24.5 per cent, on the Ordinary Shares.

It is anticipated that the Brewery can be completed by Spring next year, so that the first beer will be available for consumption in Summer, 1896.

The price to be paid to the Vendors for the Freehold Property, together with the existing restaurant, licence for new one, and concession from the Municipality to brew as aforesaid, has been fixed at the sum of £91,500, payable as to £66,500 in cash, and 2500 Ordinary Shares as aforesaid. The value has been arrived at from the valuations and calculations made by Mr. Burgheim and Mr. H. Hass. both of Altona, Certified Brokers, the originals of which may be seen at the Offices of the Solicitor to the Company, as also a Report made by the well-known Brewery Valuer. Mr. Henry W. Roberts. Bancroft-road, London, E., who has on two occasions visited the site.

Applications for Shares should be made on the forms accompanying Prospectus, and then forwarded to the Company's bankers, together with the amount payable on application. Where no allotment is made the sum so deposited will be returned in full.

Prospectus and Forms of Application may be obtained at the Offices of the Company. "
London Standard - Wednesday 17 July 1895, page 8.

You can't fault their ambition. I make that 125,250 barrels they planned brewing. That's a pretty decent sized brewery for the period. Only 23,500 barrels were to be Ale and Porter, but I still wonder where they were going to sell that. I don't think there was much a market for British beers left in Germany by the 1890's.

The idea of brewing Pale Ale and Mild, Running and  Stock Beers in Germany makes me smile. Especially Stock Beers. They were rapidly disappearing in Britain. How on earth did they expect to sell such beers in Germany?

The comments about the difference in licensing laws and the limited extent of the tied house system are in Germany are still true today. Clearly not needing to buy pubs was seen as a big advantage. It meant much less capital was needed to set up a brewery than would have been the case in Britain.

The 1880's and 1890's were the boom years of brewery flotations. Some were - such as Guinness and William McEwan - were spectacular successes. Others were, well, spectacular disasters. Like the English Lager Beer Brewery. Or Pattison's.

It's no surpise that German breweries were doing well. The Germany economy was booming as the country industrialised. Most of the breweries listed were in industrial areas, where workers were streaming in to work in the new factories. But just because those breweries were making money, didn't mean the Castle Brewery would. Especially not with their choice of products.

What happened to the Castle Brewery? I suppose you've already guessed things didn't work out quite as planeed. We'll learn more about that next time.


Pivní Filosof said...

This wasn't the only English company who ventured to continental Europe. There was one named “The Bohemian Breweries Ltd.” that owned a couple of breweries here in Prague. One of them, the one in Libeň had quite a successful run. If I remember well, they brewed lagers (though there was a 22º Porter, but I believe that one was a lager, too).

The shut down in 1906 after some bad investments.

Ron Pattinson said...

Pivni, that's interesting.

I've just done a quick search of the newspaper archives and it seems that it wasn't only Austrian breweries that were being bought by British companies. British investors were pumping money into everything from gas works to music halls.

Gerrit (geo21481) said...

There was already a brewery in Hamburg that specialized in English beer styles, Brauerei Deetjen & Schröder, established 1810, practically forgotten today, although Ratsherrn (old name, brand new brewery) reference them in their description of their own pale ale.

Rod said...

I'm in Bavaria at present, and there seems to be a growing interest/revival here in Porter, at least.
Schoenram already brew a Porter, of course, but two other brewmasters here have asked me about authentic Stout/Porter brewing.
Last Thursday, in a collaboration between Meantime and maltsters Weyermann of Bamberg, a Porter of 18.4 Platoon was brewed at Weyermann pilot brewery.
I know you don't really approve, but a trend towards a Germany Porter revival may be starting.

Martyn Cornell said...

It seems likely British investors were now turning to continental Europe because they'd run out of possibilities in the United States, where they had previously been extremely busy amalgamating brewing concerns and turning them into joint-stock companies: in the five years from 1888 to 1892, more than 30 breweries in the United States were bought by companies registered in England. One day I might get down to properly knocking up a piece on the movement, but alas, there are quite a few other unexplored subjects in brewing history I find more interesting ...

Bryan the BeerViking said...

Stortebeker up north in Stralsund has brewed its Hanse-Porter for several years now, though it is in the sweet Baltic style which is not really to my taste. I much preferred their Stark-Bier, which as the name implies is a Baltic Stout, and is reminiscent of an IRS.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I've uncovered some other good stuff about British investors on the continent. Not sure if I'll have time to go into it properly. Too many other projects at the moment.

Bryan the BeerViking said...

PS. I rather like the idea of "a Porter of 18.4 Platoon" - one for the troops, I guess. (-:

Rod said...

My BlackBerry started going prescriptive for some reason....
It's particularly annoying to be made to look like an idiot by a machine!