Station: [19] The “Palmbräu” Brewery – Pride of the Kraichgau Region

“Franz, bring another round! We’re dying of thirst here!” “But good and chilled, and mind you draw it properly!”

That’s not something you have to tell Franz Zorn more than once. He has an eye on his turnover – and it’s good!

The business, established by his father Jakob in his wine bar in 1835, was so successful that on Sundays, the busy pub quite often served up to a thousand litres of beer – that’s 1,760 pints.

But Franz also had something quite exceptional to offer. He’d spent some time as a journeyman brewer, travelling around Italy, and he’d brought some palm seedlings home with him. In the warm, humid brew house, they easily came through the winters.

And every summer, he’d set up a regular palm garden outside the pub. The pub was even named after it – “Gasthaus zur Palme” – and the beer was dubbed “Palmbräu” – or “palm-brew”.

Under Franz’s descendants, Emil and Reinhold Zorn, the brewery expanded considerably over the years. By the 1970s, it was supplying South-West Germany’s largest cities.

A producers’ association involving more than 500 farmers from the Kraichgau region supplied the barley. As a result, the Kraichgau became the second-largest continuous area anywhere in Germany where malting barley was grown in controlled, integrated conditions.

Germany is regarded as the world’s toughest market for beer, and in 2002, the “Palmbräu” brewery filed for bankruptcy.

These days, Palmbräu is part of Wolfgang Scheidtweiler’s “Brauhaus Pforzheim” set-up and continues to operate successfully in Eppingen.

Thanks to the brewery, the “Palmbräu” brand remains present in the heart of the town. And the chimney is visible from afar, as one of Eppingen’s landmarks.

All depictions: © Stadt- und Fachwerkmuseum Eppingen