It took 170 years for a small storage cellar for beer barrels with a sales outlet
a small storage cellar for beer barrels with a sales outlet into the Kulturbrauerei. In the meantime, the ensemble of buildings in the Prenzlauer Berg/Pankow district, which was listed as early as 1974 because of its "unique architecture", covers an area of 25,000 m² with its six courtyards and over 20 buildings.
It all began in 1842 at Schönhauser Allee 39, exactly where "die Kulte" is still located. A pharmacist from Kreuzberg ran a small beer bar there on the outskirts of Berlin. A certain Jobst Schultheiss took it over in 1853, but later had to sell it again for health reasons. The man leaves, the name remains (...even today, Berlin beer drinkers with dry throats order a "Schulle" - a beer that can also be mixed with alcohol).
which can still be intoned with an alcohol-soaked tongue).
Through modernisation and expansion, the small business grows into a large industrial brewery. A brewhouse is built in 1871, and 10 years later a refrigerating machine is added; it represents a major innovation and is unique in modern brewing technology in Germany at the time.In order to give the rapidly expanding brewery a cohesive appearance, the architect Franz Heinrich Schwechten is commissioned in 1887 to plan an extension and conversion; a medieval castle complex serves as his model. Later, he would also design the "Gedächtniskirche" (memorial church).
Schwechten also equips the brewery with a magnificent beer taproom, which quickly becomes a popular Berlin excursion destination.
In 1891, the Schultheiss brewery is considered the largest brewery in Germany, with 43 downs with ice cellars, 19 pubs, 65 railway wagons, 533 carriages and 537 horses; 30 years later, after merging with its fiercest Berlin competitor, the "Berliner-Kindl- Schultheiss-Brauerei GmbH" is even the world's largest lager brewery.
Then, in the 1920s, the old Kesselhaus and Maschinenhaus are demolished and replaced by a three-storey building - so the two venues have had their present form ever since.
In 1937, the company is declared a "National Socialist model company", and a year later it is run as a defence industry enterprise. During World War II, prisoners of war from Poland, France and Italy are used for auxiliary work in the brewery; Ukrainian forced labourers produce "war-important" equipment for Telefunken AG in the underground cellars.
At the end of the war, the staff of Command Section H of " Festung Berlin" (Fortress Berlin) entrench themselves there; at times there are up to 1,000 soldiers on the site; even after the official capitulation, a few isolated NSDAP, SS and other soldiers defend the area. After the cessation of hostilities, the population clears out the brewery's food stores - pure existential need drives them on. The brewery and the buildings otherwise survive the world war largely undamaged.
By order of the Soviet occupying power on 30. October 1945, the Schultheiss brewery is confiscated and later transformed into the nationally owned company "VEB Schultheiss-Brauerei" Schönhauser Allee. The brewery finally came to an end in 1967. The brewing equipment was worn out in the meantime, so beer production was stopped and the machines dismantled. The "SHG -Sozialistische Handelsgesellschaft Möbel" moves into the empty buildings of the brewery.
After the "Wende" (reunification) in 1990, the Treuhandanstalt took over the site, which was in danger of decay before the tender shoots of the future "Kulturbrauerei" began to sprout in 1991.
Cultural activists from East and West found the "KulturBrauerei gGmbH"; a TV station renovates the Kesselhaus and produces a weekly live programme there for two years.
The Treuhandanstalt hands over responsibility for the redevelopment of the site to the "Treuhand Liegenschaften Gesellschaft" (TLG). The future use of the site must take into account the "specific concerns of monument preservation", after all, the former brewery represents "a dominant piece of industrial architecture in Germany".
Thus, the declared aim of the renovation is that "the existing is nuanced and largely preserved". Only damaged parts of the facades will be replaced, materials true to the original will be used for the roof and support structures, and the traditional roofing in the form of plain tiles and black roofing felt will be retained; the historic courtyard paving will be restored and, because it "contradicts the sense of old industrial sites", the use of lush greenery in the courtyards will be dispensed with.
In 2002, Consense GmbH took over the operation of the Kessel- und Maschinenhaus and has since been responsible for the artistic and creative management of Berlin's popular venues in the Kulturbrauerei.