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Munich Brewery

Munich Brewery (originally Münchens bryggeri) is a trade fair and congress center located in Söder Mälarstrand on Södermalm in Stockholm.

The premises were occupied by a brewery until 1971. The production of beer began in 1857 in the premises where the sewing factory used to be located. After a major fire in 1893, the brewery was quickly rebuilt in the Renaissance style and the facade towards Riddarfiarden is today a characteristic feature of the street scene in Stockholm. After the then owner of Prips moved beer production to Bromma at the end of 1971, the building was threatened with demolition. However, after the 1976 elections it was decided that it would be retained and today it is used as an exhibition and conference centre as well as an office.

From a clothing factory to a steam engine brewery... 

On the site in Söder Melarstrand, where today Munich's brewery is located, the brewery's office built a clothing factory in 1740. The fact that the slope ran the garment factory was quite unique, but the reason was that in June 1739 the Royal Majesty asked the national bourgeoisie to start production. On 18 August 1740, the brewery was granted the privilege of producing clothes, and soon afterwards the plot was acquired in Söder Melarstrand. In the first fiscal year, there were two looms and a workforce of 30 people. This business culminated in the 1760s with twelve looms and 150 employees. Since 1751, the factory has been run first by Jacob Hongelin and then by his son Jacob Wilhelm Hongelin. Bad times, however, meant that Hongelin's textile mill was closed in 1803. The factory flourished again for several decades under the leadership of Johan Christian Fugt, and from the 1840s the tile factory also joined the clothing factory.

When the wholesale company CC Brusell & Co bought the land in 1855, a textile and tile factory with a corresponding steam engine was acquired. The company turned the premises into a brewery. No brewery in Stockholm had previously had access to a steam engine. Steam energy should be a prerequisite for transforming breweries into conventional industries. The name Münchens Brewery was chosen to recall the main product of Bavarian beer, which was very popular at the time. Production and sales began in April 1857.

Munich Brewery

For the brewery, the situation was also good, given the great need for ice for beer production. Sea ice was used directly from Riddarfjärden to cool the beer during fermentation and storage. The Munich brewery worked well from the start and production was steadily increasing. The brewery was expanded in installments and the site was filled with more and more buildings. The brewery's operation had some seasonal variations - more beer was sold in summer than in winter. Most of the seasonal workers were the so-called brewery hills. During the 19th century there was a large labor immigration to Stockholm from Dalarna, the work was heavy - a filled "dog basket" (back with 100 bottles) weighed 90 kg, and two women lifted it by 125 cm. The work of the litter, which was the highest paid of all the rough female duties, consisted of cleaning, filling bottles, capping and marking.

Fire, reconstruction and expansion

On the Easter night of 1893, during Perestroika, a strong fire broke out that destroyed the entire brewery. In a short period of one year they managed to build a completely new brewery, although the entire brewery was built before 1903. The fire was, strangely enough, very successful for the company. The fire created a new brewery that was much more modern and practically furnished than other breweries, and thus the Munich brewery was able to continue its growth, so that by 1900 it was the largest brewery in Sweden with 350 employees and an annual production of 150,000 hectolitres. It accounted for one tenth of the country and a quarter of beer production in the capital at that time.

Munich Brewery

The growth after the fire was led by architect Hjalmar Kumlien and engineer Alvin Jacobi. The factory manager K.F. Kvennerstedt, who had been in charge of the brewery since 1874, made sure to use his own brewery employees for the reconstruction as much as possible and thus left all employees with the same salary. In 1894, Munich's new brewery grew out of its long Renaissance façade and neo-Gothic gables. In this way, Stockholm received a very beautiful element of the cityscape that can still be seen in Riddarfjärden and Norre Melarstrand. The facade of the Riddarfjärden with its 1.2 million bricks looks roughly the same as it does today.

In the 1890s, the Munich brewery bought the Kofoten block in the western part of Skinnarvik Park from neighbouring Gubbhuset on Christinehove. There, in 1897, a forge and stables were erected, which reportedly had stands on three floors and space for almost 200 brewers. The stable was now demolished and replaced in 1982 by the official residence of Skinnarviken and Svenska Bostäders Södermalmskontor with the address Heleneborgsgatan 2.

From 1906 to 1909, the eastern part of the factory was designed according to the drawings of the architect R.L. Lindqvist. The part, which was later rebuilt, is externally connected to an older red brick form, but has an internal structure made of steel frame, which was the first of its kind in Stockholm. In 1922, a steam boiler house designed by architect Edward Bernhardt appeared.

Munich Brewery

Antimonopoly and beer monopoly.

Since the 1870s, brewers in Stockholm have been trying to create cartels to raise beer prices. In the late 1880s, they wanted to unite all breweries into a consortium to raise beer prices and thus increase profitability. Cartel formation began in 1889 with the purchase of several small breweries, which were then sold to the newly founded AB Stockholm Breweries.

The Munich brewery was bought in 1910 by AB Stockholm Brewery, which at about the same time bought four more breweries. As Sweden was previously divided into zones through a cartel agreement, the AB Stockholm brewery now had a full beer monopoly in the Stockholm area. At the same time, Pripp & Lyckholm closed its breweries in Western Sweden.

In the 1920s, the Munich brewery was expanded and greatly modernized. Now, for example, all wooden containers were replaced by steel and aluminium tanks and the washing process was automated, and a steam boiler house with a large chimney was built, still in the area. In the 1930s, the entire process became fully automatic, and the last major renovation was carried out in the 1950s. At most, the Munich brewery had a capacity of 60,000 bottles of beer per hour.

The Stockholm brewery monopoly in Stockholm was destroyed in the 1920s, when three breweries of non-alcoholic beverages were allowed to produce Class II beer. The first of them, Birger Jarl, was bought up two years later. The second, the "Brewery Crown", was included in Stockholm breweries in 1938. The third, "Hembriggerret." It was purchased by the Stockholm Brewery in 1941 for immediate closure. For over a decade, AB Stockholm Brewery now had a monopoly on beer production in the Stockholm area until its cartel was banned by the new law and competition from the rest of the country was added. The two giants of Stockholm Breweries and Pripp & Lyckholm merged in 1964 to form Pripp-Bryggerierna AB.

Munich Brewery

Beer production is transferred to Bromma.

In September 1971, the Munich brewery ended the era of beer and production was transferred to the new Pripp brewery in Bromma. In 2001, Pripps (which for some time was owned by the Norwegian brewery Ringnes) was acquired by the Danish brewing group Carlsberg and merged with it, the former Carlsberg brewery Falcon in Falkenberg. The new name was Carlsberg Sweden. Due to the difficult situation in the industry, Carlsberg Sweden decided to close its Bromme brewery in autumn 2003.

Threat of demolition and protests 

During 1971-1972, some small businesses, offices and entertainment facilities moved into the old brewery premises.  Ballroom dancing, which began in 1972 at the initiative of Hans Ryberg, became known to the general public. In 1974-1977, the so-called Musikbryggeriet, far away from the Hogalidsgatan slope towards Söder Melarstrand (now Munich's Back), was one of the last progressive music venues in Stockholm where orchestras such as Made in Sweden, Berits Halsband and Eldkvarn performed. The musical brewery was headed by musician Bill Erstremdo in 1976, then Föreningen Musikbryggeriet. The city of Stockholm bought the premises in 1974 to demolish them and build apartments on this plot. This planned and radical change of Södermalm's face towards Riddarfiarden caused a fiery folk storm under the fire soul of Hans Ryberg, head of Mälarsalen.

More than 20,000 people signed the petition, including Astrid Lindgren, Evert Taube, Tage Danielsson, Povel Ramel and Per Anders Vogelstrom. The Stockholm City Museum and the National Bureau of Antiquities supported those who wanted to preserve Munich's brewery. Despite this remarkable opinion, the Stockholm City Council voted to demolish the brewery with only one vote.

Elections in the autumn of 1976 saved the building. The bourgeois opposition eventually obeyed the popular storm and, after winning the election, went to a public meeting. Eleven days after the election, demolition would begin.

Munich Brewery

The Munich Brewery today...

The ABV construction company acquired the main brewery building from the municipality in 1979 and completed a major overhaul of approximately 46,000 m² worth approximately SEK 200 million in 1985. The architect responsible for the conversion was Sün Malmkvist.

Today the Munich Brewery is a trade fair and conference centre in the centre of Stockholm, which also houses the Royal Swedish Ballet School, the County Council and the Electronic Music Studio. The new showroom was built in 1994 by converting approximately 2,000 m² of brewery space, which had previously been used, for example, for sheet metal and high pressure printing, into "the most beautiful space in Stockholm" according to the Conference Pool .

The showroom facilities have been used since 1994 for conferences, fairs, exhibitions, concerts and MTV broadcasts and have made the Munich Brewery famous. On the seventh floor is Mälarsalen, Stockholm's largest central dance floor for beetles and foxtrot. In addition to dancing and dance courses, the dance floor also organises various events. Since 2007, the buildings of the Munich brewery have been owned by AFA Real Estate.