It all started on April 5th 1841 with a small batch of beer, a hundred liters give or take. Inside their parent’s house in Magdeburg, Albert and Hermann Wernecke founded the Brauerei A.& H. Wernecke Brewery. Albert was a trained brewer, after making beer for years he was very familiar with the craft of it, and Hermann was working as a merchant of grains. Just the kind of person you need to provide you with grain and hops for your beer.
Partnership, especially among brothers can be a tricky business, but in this case it worked very well. Just two years later the increasing demand for their Diamond beer called for a new larger space in order to expand production. They found a place and started building one facility but soon, with the rise in both popularity and quantity, they came to need more and more space to produce more and more beer. So they constructed many additional buildings – all of them to serve as beer temples.
At the new site in 1843, 1383 hectoliters (36,535 gallons) of beer were produced. And those beer tanks just kept on getting bigger over the next decades. Up to 10,000 hectoliters in 1853 and 70,000 in 1870. The new facility was equipped with a top of the line 40 horsepower steam engine. Soon after construction of the building, both of the brothers passed away. The brewery changed its name to Actien Brauerei and was converted to a stock company. In the years to come, in 1887 and 1888 to be more precise, more buildings were added to the existing one. Castle like beer producing beautiful constructions. Stuff of dreams. Inside them new facilities that would further expand beer production were installed, including an ice house, larger steam engines, malting operations, beer fountain and even the brewery’s own railway station.
In 1937 everyone in Germany knew the slogan “Stadt und Land trinkt Diamant!” (The city and country drinks Diamond!). And it was true, it seemed everyone drank Diamond beer, the trademark product of the brewery. By 1942 this was the largest brewery in the Sachsen province providing jobs for 680 workers and producing more than 250,000 hectoliters of beer every year. During the Second World War around 70% of the brewery, buildings were damaged by artillery shells and the remaining 30% almost completely destroyed. But only a year after the war ended, the brewery started boiling water and making bear again in a quick and successful comeback. Profit prediction figures of the prewar period could still be reached in 1955 without any investment in new technology. The brewery remained working to “old school” methods until 1960 when couple of aspects of the production process were modernized. New bottling plants were introduced as well as a kieselguhr filter and a pasteurizing system. In 1973 a literally long-standing landmark arose in the brewery: the twenty-four, 72-foot high cylindrical fermentation tanks.
During the GDR occupation, the Russian national beer Kvass was brewed at this facility. And with this the annual production of beer reached a never seen before 500,000 hectoliters of beer. The end of this facility came on January 17th 1991 when the Diamand Brewery became a subordinate company to the former Erste Kulmbacher Aktienbrauerei (EKU) and thus part of the Brau und Brunnen group. And until the end of the 1990s, the Brau and Brunnen group continued to brew the Diamond beer at Neuen Neustadt. After the turn of the century, Diamond beer completely disappeared from the market. The old Diamond brewery buildings became largely industrialized but most of them fell out of any use.
In 2005, the “Diamantierbrauerei Magdeburg” consortium organization was established. The idea is to keep alive the spirit of the Diamond brewery and eventually turn the building into a museum of beer. From 2006 onward beer is being brewed again, at first in a small building close by to the former brewery building. Soon after starting up, this small time brewery was moved to the oldest preserved original brewery building built in 1841.