While Ayinger Brewery's sales in May were still below those of the previous year, demand for freshly brewed beer exploded in June and July.
In order to quench the thirst and counteract a bottleneck in empties, the private brewery has now ordered 50,000 new bottles.
Aying - There are machines for many things, but not for everything.
“No, we do it by hand,” says Helmut Erdmann, director of the Ayinger brewery.
An unusual delivery arrived there yesterday: 50,000 brand-new beer bottles.
In order to be able to fill and label them, they first had to be sorted into 2500 empty container carriers, the classic beer crates.
Little by little, bottle by bottle.
An action that they carry out at the Ayinger brewery once or twice a year and for which the staff from administration and sales also lend a hand.
An elaborate team effort, about which Helmut Erdmann says: "We'll replenish the cycle with it."
With the end of the lockdown, demand increased tremendously
The cycle means in this business: brewing beer, filling beer, selling beer.
In bottles and barrels - the containers are usually returned in good time via the deposit system.
But the corona pandemic has mixed up a lot.
Also the bottle stocks at the Ayinger brewery.
In the next step, the (still empty) beer bottles end up in the brewery's bottle washing system.
“We are very export and gastronomy heavy,” explains the brewery director. Only about 30 percent of Ayinger beer goes to retail outlets, i.e. in beverage stores and supermarkets. Orders from businesses and export deliveries, especially to the USA and Italy, account for the far larger share. "The turnover was not great until May, we were even behind the 2020 figures," reports Helmut Erdmann. But then came the end of the lockdown. And suddenly a flood of orders came in, "everyone wanted to fill their empty warehouse, needed a full load". June in particular was "extreme, the amount of beer that went out". But, according to Helmut Erdmann: "Fortunately we had prepared the brew properly and were always able to deliver."
5000 porters of beer per day
The Ayinger brewery satisfied the pent-up demand; 5000 porters of beer are filled every day.
But despite a relatively good return of empties from the beverage stores, the bottles were now running out - hence the big sorting campaign this week.
With the barrels, says the brewery director, “we're back in rhythm”.
Here, due to the beer demand in the catering trade, which is starting up again, “the warehouses were empty at the beginning of June”.
Crown corks on after filling: empties are now merchandise.
The new master brewer Bernhard Neunhoeffer, who has succeeded Hans-Jürgen Iwan, who has retired after 30 years (we reported), is of course happy about the unbroken thirst for beer.
“We are satisfied with the situation, even though we could generate ten to 20 percent more sales in our own beer garden.
But because of the Corona distance rules, we have to keep places free, ”says Helmut Erdmann.
Compared to spring he is now “a little more confident”, on the other hand: “What happens in autumn?
This sword of Damocles hovers over us. ”He believes,“ that the catering industry would no longer support a mixed lockdown, construction stores open and businesses closed, and would go on the barricades ”.
If it came to that.
The “bricklayer stump” prevails again
At the moment, however, they have “positive worries” at the Ayinger Brewery: that the empties are sufficient. Speaking of which: For several years now, the so-called Maurer stumps have been standard again in Upper Bavaria, most recently Paulaner also switched and said goodbye to the slim bottles that Ayinger once used. "They were a marketing idea of the breweries from North Rhine-Westphalia," says Helmut Erdmann, "the slim bottle design should look more graceful." Thick bottles, thin bottles of different heights - because the retail trade protested against too much sorting inconvenience, the more robust "mason stumps" enforced as the official euro bottle. 50,000 new copies are available in Aying. Bottom up!