German drinks group Haus Cramer has invested in craft-beer retailer Bierothek as it seeks to expand its e-commerce platform in Europe.

Bierothek has a chain of retail stores as well as a D2C online platform, which Haus Cramer said is “one of the largest beer online shops in the German-speaking countries”. Its bricks-and-mortar outlets are mainly in Germany, with one in Austria.

The two companies plan to develop the e-commerce site and expand “internationally”, they said. According to its website, Bierothek ships to Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, Finland, mainland France and the Netherlands.

Bierothek founder Christian Klemenz said: “We have very ambitious goals regarding the expansion of our digital business in Europe. We have already made cross-border direct sales of alcoholic beer legally possible and now want to roll out this new type of sales model on a large scale.”

Haus Cramer CEO Helmut Hörz said the investment is aimed at “enabling new distribution channels” which is “in line with our long-term goals”.

Hörz, also CFO of Haus Cramer, added: “Bierothek is in the process of enabling new distribution channels to end customers, but also business customers, with a technically advanced solution for breweries.

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“With our participation and our sales experience, we are looking to support this innovative development, as it is in line with our long-term goals and makes for synergies with our portfolio.”

In a statement yesterday (5 September) the group added it wanted “to help shape the trend towards different delivery models”. “The online marketplace offers great potential for [Haus Cramer’s] own products,” it added. “Operational cooperation and joint future projects are currently under joint development by the two partners.”

Family-run Haus Cramer was founded in 1753 by the Cramer family and employs around 1,000 people. Its portfolio includes its flagship brand, Warsteiner, as well as “a wide spectrum of beers… ranging from regional to international, from entry-level to premium”.

The deal follows the drinks group’s investment in Paderborner Brewery last month, upping the capacity of the site in western Germany by 25% to 1.25 million hectolitres. Haus Cramer is spending €11m ($12m) on areas including fermentation, refrigeration, storage and packaging.

In 2022 it took stakes in Irish Rye River Brewing Company and Augsburg, Germany-based “flavoured functional water” start-up Hye. It said at the time the “multi-million euro” investment in Irish Rye River Brewing Company would be aimed at accelerating the growth of the Kildare-based craft brewer, with an emphasis on export markets via Warsteiner’s distribution network.