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Home | News | People | Warsteiner's Albert Cramer dies

Warsteiner's Albert Cramer dies

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The eighth generation to run the family business

Albert Cramer has died following a short illness

Albert Cramer, managing partner of the Warsteiner Group, has died after a short illness. He was 69 years old. 

Albert Cramer was the eighth generation of his family to head the company, based in the Sauerland region in western Germany. He will be succeeded by his daughter Catharina, who joined the Warsteiner executive management team in 2006. 

Born in Warstein in May 1943 - next door to the family brewery - Cramer was, says the company, 'a visionary', and someone who worked tirelessly to promote his brewery and gastronomy business. 

After completing high school in Bad Godesberg, he went on to study business administration at the University of Cologne, gaining his first professional experience at the business consulting firm Kienbaum. In 1968, at the age of 25, he joined the family brewery, then managed by his father, Paul Cramer. He would go on to become a limited partner and shareholder, before assuming 100% of the company shares. 

With an output of more than 300,000 hectolitres, the Warsteiner Brewery was already among the largest breweries in Germany. Albert Cramer’s innovative ideas and marketing talents helped make the family enterprise the largest and most successful privately-owned brewery in Germany, with an annual output of more than six million hectolitres. Today, the Warsteiner Group, which also includes the German hotel chain Welcome, has some 300 employees and generates annual revenues of more than €520m. 

In the 1970s, Cramer was the first German brewer to run national advertising campaigns, going to some lengths to make beer an accepted part of the fine dining experience in Germany.  The Warsteiner Tulip glass, created in 1969 by renowned glass designer Hermann Hoffmann, played a not insignificant role in this strategy - indeed, so iconic did the glass become that in 1984 it was painted by Andy Warhol. 

The mid 70s saw a rapid growth in demand, prompting Cramer to build a new Warsteiner brewery in the Waldpark area on the outskirts of Warstein - at the time, it was the most modern brewery in Europe. 

Cramer began investing outside Germany early in his career, turning Warsteiner into the largest exporter among the country's private breweries - his beer can be found in more than 60 countries today.  

Under his  management, Warsteiner set up its own sales companies in the USA, Italy and the Netherlands, and successfully integrated several acquisitions, including the Paderborner Brewery, the Frankenheim Brewery in Düsseldorf and the Herforder Brewery, as well as holdings in the König Ludwig Schloßbrauerei Kaltenberg in Bavaria. 

An enthusiastic hot-air balloonist, in 1986 Cramer launched the Warsteiner International Montgolfiade, which grew into the largest annual hot-air balloon festival in Europe. He also involved the brand in sponsorships of Formula1, skiing and equestrian events. Charitable work included establishing the Paul Cramer Foundation, in honour of his father. This organisation has been financially aiding social and cultural initiatives in and around Warstein for many years. Cramer also built several SOS Children’s Villages, and supported third-world projects in South America and Africa. 

"Albert Cramer was a pioneer of the German brewing industry who shaped and formed the German market inimitably. He leaves a great void in the lives of his loved ones, his employees and the city of Warstein. His strong personality and his creative powers will be long be remembered and appreciated by all those who came in contact with him personally", said the Warsteiner Group in a statement. 

 

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