The History

From a regional beer to a premium beer known around the world - this is the history of WARSTEINER beer, a history still being written by the Cramer family of Warstein. The name Cramer already appeared as early as the sixteenth century in connection with political and economic events in the town of Warstein …

The history of the family of brewers really began in 1753, the first time that the farmer Antonius Cramer had to pay a beer tax—of one reichstaler and nineteen guilder - for beer that he had personally brewed and sold. His son Johannes Vitus followed in his footsteps and began to sell self - brewed beer from his home, in the heart of the town of Warstein. The business profited from its central location. However, in 1802, a devastating fire reduced the town of Warstein to ashes—the Cramer residence also fell victim to the flames. The family rebuilt their home as a tavern, inn, and small brewery; the construction of the St. Pancras Church placed it among the town’s most important meeting places. This original home of the Warsteiner brewery, the cathedral tavern, can still be found in the historical center of the town of Warstein.

A Family Brewery with Tradition

In building this brewery, Johannes Vitus Cramer laid the foundation for a successful family business. The management of the Warsteiner brewery has always been handed down from one generation to the next and has been in the hands of the Cramer family ever since 1753. Thus, it was Johannes Vitus’s sons, Albert and August, who became responsible for managing the brewery in 1823. And it was the two of them who determinedly pursued and achieved the professionalization of the Warsteiner brewery. Albert and August brought themselves up to date with the state-of-the-art chemical and technical aspects of brewing at the brewer’s college in Worms: They then used this knowledge to expand the brewery. In 1898, the brothers purchased a steam engine and, at the same time, entered the Warsteiner brewery into the official registry of local businesses.

Soft Water Leads to Success

The story of the brewery’s success continued with the discovery of the Kaiserquelle spring in 1927. With a water hardness of only one to two degrees, its water was ideally suited for brewing beer and continues to contribute to the smoothness of WARSTEINER beer today.

In the twentieth century, the Warsteiner brewery developed, once and for all, into a major business. Production reached 100,000 hectoliters (approx. 85,000 barrels) in 1960, making the Warsteiner brewery one of the largest in Germany. The worldwide demand for the premium pilsner rose continuously and the production facilities in downtown Warstein soon reached the limits of their production capacity. Therefore, the Waldpark brewery, at the Southern edge of town, was built in the ’70s. When the former owner, Albert Cramer, opened the brewing facility in 1976, it set new standards in the brewing industry. Thanks to further profitable investments in the areas of technology, distribution, and advertising, the production of the Warsteiner brewery continued to grow exponentially.

The Family Tradition Goes On

Today, over 250 years after the brewery’s founding, the small town of Warstein - in the heart of the picturesque natural scenery of Germany’s Sauerland - is the home town of a great beer that is drunk around the world. The Cramer family has succeeded in transforming a regional beer into a premium pilsener that is known around the world.

Over nine generations, the Cramer family’s strong leadership has successfully turned a regional brew into a global, industry-leading brand. In 2006, the addition of Catharina Cramer to the executive management team signalled a turning point in the company’s history, as she became the first woman to hold such a senior position. Since 2012, after the death of her father Albert Cramer, she is leading the family business in ninth generation. As the first woman in the history of the company, she is setting the course of the family business together with Martin Hötzel and Peter Himmelsbach.
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Jens Bergfeld, Warsteiner Brauerei Email