Beer companies, especially those with their headquarters situated
at one of their breweries, are generally fun to visit. Why? They're
usually very rich in history, tradition and very savvy in marketing
and public relations. I don't find much of the latter here.
I'm about five miles from Vienna's city center and only a few
blocks from the factory/offices of chocolate maker Josef Manner
& Company, who I just, left. Yep, earlier the smell of chocolate
was in the air and now it's beer.
I stop at the gated entry and show the guard (who doesn't speak
English) my questionnaire with the name S. Menz, Chairman, Board
of Management typed on it. He points to a large brewery building
and then motions to go to the right of it. It's a good-size brewery
complex which I'm sure has been here for more than a 100 years.
I enter the two-story head office and find no reception area.
Eventually finding Mr. Menz's secretary, she doesn't recall my
letter and sends me downstairs to the marketing/public relations
area. No one in this area shows interest in spending time with
me and it's only after I plead that this is my only opportunity
to drop by here that they try to find someone. Thomas Freund,
Export Manager, is given a call and agrees to meet with me. Freund
has a meeting in 10 minutes so I quickly race through my questions.
The company began in 1837 and has been on this same site since
its founding. I ask if there was/is a Mr. Ottakringer. I'm way
off. Vienna is divided into 20 districts and each has a name.
Guess what this district is called. Yep, Ottakringer.
A total of 120 employees work here with 30 of those in the administrative
department. There's plenty of employee parking, everyone eats
in the company cafeteria, smoking isn't allowed in offices, no
recreational facilities, it's 15 minutes to the nearest freeway
and, the brewery has its own water well on the property.
I can't see the Chairman's office or boardroom though earlier
when talking to his secretary I noticed a beverage cooler in
her office. From past experiences of visiting beer companies
many CEO's have a small fridge/cooler in their office stocked
with their beverages. Any employee perks? Vouchers good for a
heavy discount on Ottakringer products. Freund does run me over
for a quick look in the Yeast Room. Formerly a room for storing
yeast, this large century-old room with wood floors and exposed
timbered beams is available to the general public for parties,
wedding receptions and other celebrations.