Largest Swiss brewery wants out

Feldschloesschen-Huerlimann plans to sell its drinks unit

Mar 29, 2000 - Switzerland's largest brewer, Feldschloesschen-Huerlimann, plans to sell its drinks unit and become a real estate company. Dutch brewer Heineken, the second largest brewer in the world, and Belgian-based Interbrew have both expressed interest in the brewing business. Heineken already has a 19% share of the Swiss market through its 92%-owned Calanda Haldengut.


Feldschloesschen-Huerlimann has been hurt by slumping domestic beer consumption and increased competition from abroad. While beer sales were down in 1999, real estate helped the company to a 6% profit. The company indicated it will spend 300 million francs transforming brewery sites in Zurich, Waedenswil, Bern- Wabern and Fribourg for different uses.

Huerlimann sold the popular Samichlaus beer until 1997. Brewed once a year on Dec. 6, it was the world's strongest regularly produced bottom-fermenting beer and received 4 stars from Michael Jackson. After acquiring rival Huerlimann, Feldschloesschen discontinued the beer because of what it called a lack of consumer interest.

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