German beer and soft-drinks producer Oettinger is taking on the production and sale of domestic beer brand Karmeliter.

Karmeliter – which traces its roots back to a monastery in the Middle Ages – had announced it would cease operations at the end of June as it had not found a “successor”.

“Karmeliter is a cult. It would have been an enormous loss for German brewing culture and beer diversity to lose this strong brand and its original recipes,” Oettinger CEO Stefan Blaschak said.

“With its solid quality and impressive history, Karmeliter fits our family business, which is also rich in tradition with a history spanning almost 300 years”.

The Karmeliter brewery in Salz, Germany, has been privately owned since 1923.

“The German beer market has been shrinking for decades but is still significant and generates strong sales,” Blaschak said.

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“Many brands have the potential to provide new impetus in the classic segments. At Karmeliter, we are relying on the original growth path of Helles Lager but are also examining the continuation of other monastery beer varieties.”

Oettinger’s soft drinks range from ice teas and spritzers to malt drinks and lemonades. The brewer also makes its own ‘alcohol-free’ beer at an abv of less than 0.5%. In January, it bought non-alcoholic functional beer brand JoyBräu.

In December, Oettinger indicated it had plans to “extensively ramp up” its business outside beer as part of a strategic realignment. The brewer is aiming for 40% of sales to be made away from beer by 2026, which is approximately double the current figure.

Oettinger has also created an “innovation brand” line called Oe, which it is going to use to target the functional drink markets domestically and internationally. Its own-brand portfolio centres on the Original Oettinger brand under which it sells beer, soft drinks and beer mixes.

Blaschak – a former Coca-Cola executive and also previous chairman of German drinks company Berentzen Group – was appointed CEO last summer.