“Brewing instead of building”: the citizens’ initiative wants to save the traditional brewery in Pfungstadt | hessenschau.de

The traditional Pfungstadt brewery is in danger of extinction. With the city’s blessing, the real estate company wants to build elegant apartments in this area. The newly launched citizens’ initiative hopes to prevent this from happening.

From 1831, beer was brewed in Pfungstadt (Darmstadt-Dieburg), which became the city’s showcase. The Pfungstadt beer started at the “Zum Hirschen” inn in today’s Hahn district. It could have ended almost 200 years later at the brewery in Eberstädter Straße. A modern housing park is planned there. The City Council has already adopted the relevant installation resolution.

To prevent this from happening, on Wednesday evening in an inn in Pfungstadt, a citizens’ initiative was launched under the name “brewing instead of building”. They want to use the referendum to trigger a referendum to prevent housing construction and thus an end to the traditional brewery.

250 members in one evening

“We were overwhelmed by the response,” says Reinhard Ahlheim, co-founder of the initiative. 300 people attended the event, 250 of whom immediately signed the list of members. “Everyone said you had to do something,” said Ahlheim.

The 68-year-old, born in Pfungstadt, was a member of the SPD city council for many years. He has since retired from politics. But the behavior of the brewery is a matter close to his heart.

The lease agreement expires at the end of 2023.

It has been operated for a year and a half by the plant manufacturer Lauer GmbH from Seeheim-Jugenheim (Darmstadt-Dieburg). The site now belongs to the real estate company Conceptaplan and entrepreneur Daniel Hopp, who want to build a residential complex of the Pfungstadt municipal gardens there. Lauer’s lease agreement expires at the end of 2023.

Moving to another location is out of the question, according to managing director Uwe Lauer. Because the existing water rights he has with four of his own wells in Pfungstadt, he wouldn’t get anywhere else, says the entrepreneur. And he believes that in this area it is impossible for the estate and the brewery to exist together.

Brewery: Plants cannot be combined

“For historical reasons, the important systems are just too far apart,” says Lauer. According to him, the combination of these actions will paralyze operations for months. “Then the gastronomy and trade would have to switch to other brands, because you are dead as a brewery.”

Lauer welcomes the creation of the Citizens’ Initiative and its concerns, but is not a member of it himself. About 60 employees are worried about the future of the entrepreneur. He wants to fight for it, as he says himself, but he also clearly says: “I don’t need a brewery to survive.”

Safe regional deliveries

For BI founder Ahlmann, in addition to maintaining a private brewery that survived three wars, it is also about regional production. One of the Pfungstadt fountains is of mineral water quality and is properly certified. In addition, the company now also produces non-alcoholic drinks.

For a citizens’ initiative, the initiative initially requires around 2,000 signatures from eligible voters. He now has eight weeks to collect them. Then you can apply for a referendum on the preservation of the brewery.

Now it is the turn of the population

At least 30 percent of eligible voters must participate. If more than half voted to keep it, new construction plans are out of the question, says Ahlmann. He would prefer a compromise without legal disputes.

However, what this might look like is not clear. The owner of the Lauer brewery now sees the ball in the hands of Pfungstadt. “The population now has to express its will,” he says. “If they’d rather have an apartment building than a brewery, I’ll accept it too.”

Conceptaplan, when asked on Thursday, refused to comment on the matter and referred to the Friday news event.

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