The 20th century

For the Rothaus Brewery, the 20th century started of with a heavy blow. In 1904 a large fire caused a lot of damage to many parts of the brewery. Reconstruction was expected to last until 1905.

The First World War also didn’t go by without leaving its mark on the Rothaus Brewery. During this time, there was a lack of raw materials, workers as well as customers. Many resources were taken over by the military. Rothaus Brewery’s output sank dramatically, from 32,000 hectoliters in 1913 to 6,900 hectoliters in 1919—the same amount that was produced in 1862. In order to overcome increasingly tougher competition, and in order to continue to operate the Rothaus Brewery according to private commercial principles, the Rothaus Brewery was restructured in 1922 as an AG (or joint stock company).

The Rothaus Brewery survived the Second World War largely unscathed. Only after the war had ended did it have to briefly stop production, which was the result of a measure implemented by the French military governor. The goal of this measure was to conserve the scant resources that existed in war-torn Germany. In the years that followed, Rothaus Brewery struggled with the military administration to be rationed out the necessary ingredients for brewing.

In 1956 Edwin Nägele, the then brewery director, introduced the 0.33 l bottle Tannenzäpfle. At that time it was a very ambitious undertaking. Selling beers in 0.7 l bottles was the norm. But despite its unusual size, the Tannenzäpfle quickly received an increasing number of enthusiasts.

In 1966 Hans Pfender became the new director, and successfully led the Rothaus Brewery through the 70s and 80s. The brewery’s output grew considerably to over 300,000 hl, and it invested even further in new technologies. Dr. Norbert Nothelfer took over the position of director in 1991. In the following 13 years he was able to almost triple the output, and simultaneously develop the Rothaus Brewery into one of the most modern breweries in Germany.