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07-05-2010, 07:13
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In the last few decades of its existence the Austro-Hungarian Empire housed another empire. Dreher's brewing empire. The largest brewing company in Europe, excluding the UK. Which still had the four or five largest breweries in the world.

The break-up of Austria-Hungary in the aftermath of WW I didn't do Dreher's legacy any favours. His breweries suddenly found themselves in different countries. And the market they had served was fragmented across the nation states carved out of the empire. No wonder every one has forgotten about Dreher.

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"The largest beer-establishment of the continent is also one of the oldest in Austria, for the Dreher brewery in Klein-Schwechat (near Vienna), as is shown in documents, has existed since 1632. The huge upswing of the enterprise dates since 1836. Up to this time has been brewed in the brewery, the then customary Schwechater top-fermenting beer, which in the undeveloped state of the beer production was sufficient for the low requirements of the then small circle of consumers.

When on 1 April 1836 Anton Dreher took over the Schwechat brewery, this practical genius began a sweeping reform of the existing operation, and he built great storage cellars and began large-scale production of bottom-fermenting lager beer, which, taken to Vienna, won the general recognition of the public. In the year of the takeover of the Schwechat brewery, so from the first April 1836 to 1 April 1837 26,560 Eimer [15,034 hl]of beer were brewed in the then very limited premises.

Today, through the efforts of Dreher's, the Schwechat brewery is the largest establishment of the continent, and in its extent is not even surpassed by English breweries, since even the largest British establishment does not have the gigantic underground buildings for malting and beer storage at its disposal, that the Schwechat brewery has. Some figures, which are taken partly from the Austrian catalog, partly from other communications, best illustrate the magnificence of this company with its two branches.

The Schwechat brewery including maltings covers an area of 15 Joch [8.63 hectares] or 24,000 Quadratklafter [86,320 square metres], of which 16,000 Quadratklafter [57,546 square metres] are vaulted rooms. The production of the malt during the winter months, when the brewery is in operation, is 1500 bushels daily, for which Tennen with a surface area of 7200 Quadratklafter [25,896 square metres] and a storage area of 18,000 bushels of raw barley are needed. To dry the malt there is a a kiln of 600 Quadratklafter [2,158 square metres] is required. The storehouse for the storage of malt can contain 60,000 bushels. The dried malt is moved mechanically from here to the brew house, which contains six tuns, the largest containing 500 Eimer [283 hl]. In the months of operation, 3800 Eimer [2,151 hl] of beer are produced daily and the majority of the necessary work is performed by machines. The cooling is done in extremely well ventilated cooling rooms by means of 23 copper and coolships, which together occupy an area of 550 Quadratklafter [1,978 square metres]. In the fermentation buildings there are 1236 fermenting vessels, which occupy a surface area 1700 Quadratklafter [6,114 square metres] and take 52,550 Eimer [29,718 hl] of beer. In the underground cellars, which are in total 4200 Quadratklafter [15,106 square metres], there are 4,317 barrels containing between 50-200 Eimer [28 to 113 hl]. So 414,195 Eimer [234,456 hl] of beer can be lagered. In addition to these cellars, and closely connected with them, are ice pits of 2400 Quadratklafter [8,632 square metres], in which are stored in 800,000 Zollcentners of ice. Three steam engines, a Locomobile and a waterwheel, with a combined force of 80 horse-power, service the operation. This establishment employs 350 Brauburschen, 250 carters and day labourers. The movement of material and transfort of beer takes place on railways, which run through the whole establishment and are connected with the state railway. On these railways every year about one million cwt are transported. For the road transport, the spacious stables house 72 horses and 240 oxen. Its own gas works produces the gas needed for lighting and feeds the 500 burners, which are mounted in different rooms.

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The operation is such that only the winter months from October to April are used for brewing. The product of this brewery is renowned not only in Austria, but also far beyond its borders. At all the exhibitions in which the enterprise took part it won the highest prizes: the gold medal in Vienna in 1857, the bronze medal in London in 1862 . Not so large, but certainly significant are the two other above-named breweries of the same company.

The following figures demonstrate best the scale of the Dreher companies. They concern beer production from the 1st January 1866 to 1st January 1867:

In Schwechat 480,670 Eimer [272,084 hl]
„ Steinbruch 145,240 „ [82,213 hl]
„ Micholup 55,080 „ [31,178 hl]
Total .... 680,990 Eimer [385,476 hl]

The total production is about the one 17th of the beer production of the whole empire of Austria. The Dreher companies paid taxes of:

Beer tax paid in Schwechat 618.956 fl.
„ Steinbruch 159.352 fl
„ Micholup 58.677 fl
Total 836.985 fl.

In addition in consumption taxes::

In Wien 356.927 fl.
„ Pest 63.801 fl
Total 1,257.713 fl.

"Bericht όber die Welt-Ausstellung zu Paris im Jahre 1864", 1865, pages 122 - 124.
Micholup. Can anyone guess which American beer took its name from this brewery? Come on. It isn't hard.

I wonder if I've finished with Austrian beer yet? https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5445569787371915337-6460622268780969079?l=barclayperkins.blogspot.com

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