I WOULD LIKE A BEER FROM HERE
Neighborhood drinking: Sebastian Jacob from Berlin-Neukölln had the idea for the social beer. Three euros per box of Quartiermeister goes to social projects.
You create a local beer brand, drink it on the spot, and with that you support neighborhood projects. In the summer of 2009, while preparing for his all things exams, Sebastian Jacob, who was a law student at the time, had this idea, which was as simple as it was ingenious. “People like to get involved locally and have fun doing it,” says Jacob, who is now a legal trainee. “I thought to myself: drink around the neighborhood, you can spread the word, preferably with a beer.” Quartermaster has been available in Jacob’s hometown of Berlin since 2010, in 0.33-litre bottles. Three euros per box goes to social projects.
For the good common)!
The 31-year-old says beer companies are making huge profits that the general public has nothing to gain from. In addition, he resents the cartel-style division of the beer market. So Sebastian Jacob searched for a smaller owner-run brewery to produce his social beer. To his regret, he found none in Berlin. But in Gardelegen in Saxony-Anhalt, 150 kilometers away, he discovered a company that lived up to his expectations. From there he now gets a pilsner made with regional ingredients and at a reduced price.
At the same time, the passionate beer drinker rattled around the pubs of his neighborhood, his “Kiez”, meeting many open-eared innkeepers. The Quartiermeister is now drunk in about 30 bars in Neukölln and Kreuzberg. At first, Jacob traveled all over his territory himself to deliver orders on a cargo bike; Beverage companies have long relieved him of this hard work. Quartiermeister fans who don’t want to limit themselves to enjoying beer on the go can now pick up the beer themselves at various retailers or, starting at ten cases, have it delivered free for their next party.
Sebastian Jacob feels at home in the multicultural district. He likes variety as well as low rents, so he wanted to give something back, he says. The profit of three euros per case of beer first goes to the treasury of the 30-member association Quartiermeister eV and then goes to neighborhood projects that have applied for funding. The association distributes from 1,000 to 1,500 euros per month in this way. At the end of 2011, the members of the club celebrated the sale of the 100,000 bottle with a party and the delivery of more than 10,000 euros to neighborhood initiatives. Among other things, support was given to an intercultural football club, a cultural club with a raft cinema, a student aid network and the cultural country house, which gives free access to cultural events to low-income people.
The young legal trainee sometimes needs a sip because he has a time-consuming hobby. He works about 30 hours a week volunteering for the beer social without earning a penny. What do you want to be later, lawyer or mayor? “Both,” he says. He is very interested in “social entrepreneurship” and has already received an award for “future-oriented commitment” from the Robert Bosch Foundation.
Fire, Futt and Spark, there’s still drink to come!
In the meantime, the quartermaster has also established headquarters in Frankfurt am Main. A district initiative in the Hessian metropolis found the idea so good, says Sebastian Jacob, that they also wanted to sell the beer locally. That’s not possible, he explained to them, because the beer is supposed to be “from here.” However, his team offered to help set up the sales structure. The Frankfurters found a local producer, the Herborner Brauhaus , and off we went. Jacob reveals that similar projects (local production plus local volunteer structures) are still in preparation.
Having a brewery in Berlin would be the icing on the cake, or the beer foam, of the whole project. The problem, however, is that all the big breweries are owned by even bigger corporations, and the microbreweries have great concepts but sales problems, explains the head quartermaster. Since they cannot be pasteurized, there are shelf life issues and problems with bottling.
But in the future, he reflects, maybe that too has a solution. And then: Skol! Yamas! Op uw gezondheid! Mazel Tov! Salamati! cin cin!
The Municipality sells beer and thus supports projects in the neighborhood. Because pushers don’t get paid for pub equipment or advertising, social beer isn’t even more expensive than corporate products.
Drink beer and do good in the neighborhood: the Berlin social enterprise Quartiermeister makes this bar dream come true. All profits go to district projects: a bicycle repair shop in Kreuzberg received €1,000, as did an initiative by a voluntary German course, a meeting place for the homeless and Rita’s Crochet Club , where Turkish women gather to work, cook and pray. The 30 or so members of the fan association make a shortlist and then the customers vote on where the money goes. 50,000 euros have already been redistributed in this way.
It all started six years ago as a project by budding lawyer Sebastian Jacob. While drinking with friends, he got the idea to develop a social beer: the friends thought it was a great idea and founded a support association. From then on, Jacob studied for the exam and at the same time, idealistically and without pay, sold beer bottles, filled by a brewery in Saxony-Anhalt, to pub owners. They were glued on with a “Bier für den Kiez” logo, in the center of which was the image of a young man with an upturned collar, a friendly Jedermann, and according to Jacob’s interpretation, the customer, who, thanks to the donation of about ten cents included in the price becomes mayor. Jacob established four principles for his beer brand: social, regional, The business must be run in a transparent, “not-for-profit” manner, and for the long term. Big investors should never have a say, as he put it in a manifesto.
But not many liked the beer, the brewery went bankrupt, and Jacob wanted to earn a secure job and money first. But the idea should not die, thought David Griedelbach and Peter Eckert, both active in the fan association. In the fall of 2012 they took over the store. “We agreed to give ourselves until the end of 2013,” reports Griedelbach, a tall bearded man in a hoodie. If it turned out that the project could earn enough to live on, they both wanted to go ahead.
The search for a new brewery began. Of course, she should be around the corner if possible. But the Berlin companies were out of the question: all the major beer producers belong to the Radeberger Group and thus the Oetker empire, and the microbreweries are so small that they either have very little capacity or have to charge higher prices. Only five breweries within a 200-kilometer radius met the desired criteria, a distance that the young entrepreneurs considered almost acceptable to pass as regional. In fact, it has become difficult to find independent breweries. More than one in three beers drunk anywhere in the world are said to fill the coffers of the top five market leaders, and the concentration process continues:
It is precisely such structures that the Mayor wants to strongly oppose. So Griedelbach and Eckert asked each of the five independent breweries in the Berlin area for some sample bottles and invited members of the association to come and try them. After a few sips, everyone agreed: the brewery in the town of Wittichenau, on the border between Brandenburg and Saxony, produces the tastiest beer.
The Wittichenau family business brewed around 2,000 hectoliters for Quartermaster in 2015 . At around 13 percent of the total volume, it’s still not a major customer, but it’s still influential: The company switched to green electricity and shortened the hop journey. When Berliners came up with the idea of producing an organic beer, the brewery helped develop it and certified it accordingly. “Things run smoothly and in harmony,” says Johannes Glaab, one of the two managing brewery brothers, describing the collaboration. the following is one energy efficiencyanalysis on the shared to-do list. “We want to try to change the entire value chain,” explains Griedelbach, who describes himself as a “pragmatic idealist”. To ensure that pragmatism does not prevail, the members of the association play a central role as guardians of the founding manifesto: they have a voice in all strategically important decisions. For example, volunteers voted against working with the Rewe supermarket chain because they are supplied by a drinks retailer that is part of Nestlé.
Neighborhood beer is now available at 120 restaurants, 40 brunch joints and 50 health food stores. Quartiermeister bottles are now on the tables not only in Berlin, but also in Leipzig and Dresden; a map on the Internet makes it easy to find the outlets. People in Hamburg are already interested in the concept, and in Munich an enthusiastic person follows in Jacob’s footsteps and sells a light beer with the Quartiermeister logo. Berliners support you all in word and deed; after all, it is about spreading the word and showing that a different form of economics is possible without it having to be more expensive. For a small bottle, restaurants or shops have to pay 55 cents plus VAT. All other operational data is also transparent: The Internet shows how much in a quarter for salaries, office supplies and transport have been spent and how much can be distributed accordingly to projects. “Corporations spend millions on advertising and marketing, setting up entire pubs to link innkeepers to them. We do not subsidize the advertising costs of umbrellas, beer halls or refrigerators, so around 15 percent of the sales can go to the neighbourhood”, praises Griedelbach.quartermaster on.
In the meantime, there is no doubt: the mayor has taken off and can pay four full-time people a monthly salary of around 2,200 euros and hire several freelancers. “Of course he used to earn more, but why?” asks Griedelbach, who completed a dual study course at Deutsche Bank after graduating from high school. “It was always just do, do, do. It was a corporate culture in which performance was the only thing that counted and everything was pushed to the limit”, sums up the 29-year-old. Even during his training, he took up other forms of business and met people who had created social enterprises. His conviction gradually changed that the individual could not change anything after all.
“We have no debt, we finance everything with cash flow,” Griedelbach reports, reclining on a sofa at Berlin’s Thinkfarm, a backyard co-working space in Kreuzberg where beer merchants have rented a few desks. Personally, he doesn’t consider the product itself to be that important; Toilet paper would actually be just as good, but it would probably appeal to people less. That’s why it’s best to start with something that has a positive emotional connotation, says Griedelbach. The beer in the district is perfect for this.