Anything but quiet at the Altbier brewery
Rural, but sassy. That is how the Bolten brewerey sees itself today. It's still the oldest brewery in the world but it has been fully revamped. On 9 June 2005 Michael Hollmann, former CEO of Brau und Brunnen, took over the company from Korschenbroich and gave it a major shake-up.
With success: In 2005 Bolten's country beer arrived on the market, a naturally cloudy, top-fermented lager, and in 2007 it was followed by Lichter's Lecker Bierchen developed together with the famous TV chef Horst Lichter. In 2010 another lager in a 0.33-liter swing-top bottle was added. But Hollmann is almost happier about the success on another playing field: since 1 July 2010 Bolten has been the stadium partner and official supplier of Altbier (a top-fermenting German beer) in the Borussia Park. Borussia Mönchengladbach signed a four-year contract with the "Rhine company steeped in tradition".
Those who visit the Bolten brewery Internet site are welcomed by the sound of a cock crowing. Bolten sees itself as a country beer brewery which uses traditional brewing methods and which is known for its freshness and quality in the region. When you hold a Bolten bottle or beer glass in your hand you will notice a lion in the logo. That has to do with the history of the Löwenbrauerei Korschenbroich at the Kraushof restaurant and brewery. Michael Hollmann even found some correspondence with the brewery of the same name from Munich in the old files. The Munich brewery can "only" trace back its history to 1383; the Korschenbroich brewery as far as 1266. Back then records show that Heinrich der Brauer was given the right to brew beer at the Kraushof from the Lordship of Myllendonk. The brewery is still based in Kraushof to this day. In 1519 a member of the Bolten family is mentioned for the first time as owner of the brewery. This is where the beer acquired its name, which it has kept to this day.
The name and the brewery, which has been remodeled and rebuilt several times, have endured, just like the brewery's dedication to Altbier – despite the fact that these days the brewery also makes wheat beer and lager. Michael Hollmann believes in the future of Altbier, just like his business partner Dr. Paul Bösken-Diebels, who took over half the shares in the company in December 2006. The former Diebels boss sees good prospects for Bolten on the market: "Regional breweries which cultivate the market and preserve the close contact with the customers will also have diverse opportunities in the future." Today Bolten sees itself positioned between the major Altbier brands and the Düsseldorf restaurant breweries. For Hollmann the new lager doesn't conflict with this at all. His idea was to brew a young beer that really tastes good. It is a top-fermented beer that uses the Pilsner brewery method, hearty and full-bodied. But this new beer wasn't the creation of food designers; it was Hollmann and the brewers of Kraushof that came up with it. Its success is testament to their skills. Sales of all brands picked up. In times of globalization, Bolten focuses on freshness from the region: What they would like most of all is to get the hops and malting barley from the region itself.
But first the Kraushof will be restructured – once again. The new brewery shop "Bolten Kontor" is now ready and offers all the Bolten beer brands, gift baskets and soon a wine collection too. The Altbier salami and mustard comes highly recommended. There is a cozy room on the first floor which is the perfect setting for family celebrations. In contrast to the Bolten family, Hollmann does not live at the Kraushof, but with his family in Mönchengladbach. Born in 1952 in Wuppertal, he studied law in Kiel. During the semester holiday he worked at Astra in Hamburg. In Kiel he also had his own pub, but then he joined the sales team of the Bavaria St. Pauli brewery behind the Reeperbahn. He already spent eight years in the Lower Rhine region as the Managing Director of the Hannen brewery. Then he became CEO of Brau- und Brunnen AG Dortmund – until they were bought up by Radeberger. He is very happy with the Bolten brewery – it may be small but it is his own – and he is thirsty for action. He is finally where he wants to be and is happy when his ideas and his way of brewing beer go down well with others too. Soon we might not only hear the sound of a cock crowing at the Kraushof but also horses whinnying. It would mean Hollmann had got the old brewery horse and cart up and running again. Transporting a young beer in an old-fashioned way? That is fun for both young and old.
Privatbrauerei Bolten GmbH & Co. KG
Rheydter Str. 138
Tel.: +49 (0) 21 61 - 61 790 - 0
Fax: +49 (0) 21 61 - 61 790 - 33