An overview of Gerolsteiner Brunnen’s impressive history - from its humble beginnings in 1888 to a global leadership today.
Mining director Wilhelm Castendyck discovers a carbonated water source during drilling operations. He establishes a company called Gerolsteiner Sprudel W. Castendyck Gerolstein (Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG) and bottles the first-ever Gerolsteiner Mineral Water in clay jugs.
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water immediately attracts influential advocates; Professor Dr. R. Fresenius – who founded the Fresenius Institute in 1848 – recommended Gerolsteiner based on its high natural carbonic acid content.
Gerolsteiner’s first export route to the USA is well established. Chicago was the primary destination due to its high German emigrant population, who were homesick for native products and tastes.
In 1895, Gerolsteiner receives its first export order from Australia. By postcard, the Sydney-based firm Büsch & Heiliger orders Gerolsteiner Mineral Water by the case. It is not known if all the clay jugs survived the long sea journey!
Gerolsteiner switches from its ionic clay bottles to glass bottles. Sales continue to increase to 3.2 million bottles annually.
In Gerolstein, a mineral water source erupts during drilling operations, resulting in a massive fountain that shoots up 57 metres (187 feet) high and with a diameter of 50cm (1.6 feet). It took nearly a month to secure this new source.
After a slump in exports due to the First World War, deliveries (158,000 bottles) to the USA resume in 1928.
Forward thinking shareholders invest 5,000 Reich marks (a fortune at the time) to produce Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG’s first advertising film in order to increase sales in Germany.
A new processing facility, featuring specially designed modern equipment is put into operation. These innovations significantly boost production.
Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG breaks from the norm and introduces its first carbonated fruit juice drink under the name Gerri.
Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG increases production with the acquisition of the Glashäger spring nearby Bad Doberan, East Germany. Now, with sales of 15.6 million bottles, Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG is among the top ten leading companies in the German bottled water industry.
The Gerolsteiner factory is completely destroyed by an air raid at Christmas in 1944.
As early as 1946, one of three filling machines has been repaired and operations are up and running again. However, due to a bottle shortage, anyone who wants sparkling water has to give up 20 percent of their bottle stocks to Gerolsteiner, so the company can gradually resume normal operations. By the end of 1946, sales grow to 900,000 bottles, evidence of Gerolsteiner’s enduring popularity.
Gerolsteiner’s bottling facilities are for the most part rebuilt by 1948.
From 1947 through to 1950, there is some realignment of resources and an important spring; the Glashäger in Bad Doberan is expropriated and nationalised by the East German (GDR) government.
Inner screws that were used to close off the springs since the early 1900’s are replaced by newly designed swing top closures.
The Ministry for Agriculture, Viticulture and Forestry in Rhineland-Palatinate formally declares that Gerolsteiner’s springs are a resource that has public health benefits. Hence, the mineral water springs are state-recognised medicinal springs in accordance of the water laws of Rhineland-Palatinate state.
Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG initiates an expansion plan and acquires several local spring companies.
With sales of more than 43 million bottles yearly Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG is ranked number one among the German mineral water springs for the first time.
Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG is the first company in the German mineral spring industry to introduce a mineral water with a reduced carbonic acid content, known as Gerolsteiner Tafelwasser (table water).
Construction of new state-of-the-art facility (Factory I) enables increased production and for the first time, over a 100 million bottles are produced.
Gerolsteiner Sprudel KG acquires Schloss-Brunnen-Gerolstein Dr Peter Dehottay KG and one of their existing shareholders; the Bitburger brewery becomes a limited partner of newly formed Gerolsteiner Sprudel GmbH & Co.
Gerolsteiner is one of the first companies to no longer use bottles with a lever cap, but in the uniform spring bottle of the German Spring Association (GDB) that is still available today – also known as the “pearl bottle” thanks to its design.
The new administrative building in Brunnenstrasse in Gerolstein is completed. The administration facilities finally reflect the continued growth of the company.
Understanding the importance of protecting its valuable natural resource, Gerolsteiner takes steps to preserve the purity and quality of its springs in order to maintain them for future generations. By doing so, Gerolsteiner is one of the first stewards of sustainability.
To showcase its embrace of sustainability, Gerolsteiner launches an advertising campaign that focuses on Gerolsteiner Mineral Water’s naturalness, purity and freshness.
Gerolsteiner’s medicinal water that had until now been called Dolomitquelle (dolomite spring) is renamed St. Gero. The brand remains strong in the German market until today.
Gerolsteiner continues to responds to consumer trends and re-launches Gerolsteiner Tafelwasser (today known as Medium) as Stille Quelle (still spring).
Gerolsteiner Sprudel GmbH & Co. merges with Gerolsteiner Flora Brunnen, Rud. Buse GmbH & Co. and from 1988, the company operates under the name Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co.
Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. takes over Bad Pyrmonter Mineral-und Heilquelle GmbH & Co. KG.
After 42 years, the Glashäger-Brunnen GmbH is repurchased after the German reunification. Additionally, Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. takes over Margon-Brunnen GmbH in Müglitztal.
Gerolsteiner opens one of the most modern processing plants of its kind in Europe and underpins its position as a leader in the mineral water industry.
Gerolsteiner introduces a new upscale bottle especially created for hotels and restaurants. The new white glass 0.75 litre bottle compliments the existing 0.25 liter bottle that has been offered since the 1950s.
After eight years in development, Gerolsteiner is the first company to introduce a 1 litre PET bottle that is reusable. Used for both Gerolsteiner Sparkling and Gerolsteiner Stille Quelle, it is not only lighter than glass, but also unbreakable – two characteristics that consumers almost take for granted today. The new reusable bottle is sold in 12 x 1 liter crates.
The PET reusable bottle not only lays the foundation for Germany-wide distribution of the Gerolsteiner brand, but also revolutionises the entire mineral water market.
Gerolsteiner expands its product range with the introduction of Gerolsteiner Excelsis (today known as Naturell) – a mineral water without carbonic acid.
Two years after developing the 1 litre PET reusable bottle, Gerolsteiner is also selling its mineral water in 0.5 and 1.5 litre PET non-reusable bottles.
Gerolsteiner introduces a new fruit-infused product; Gerolsteiner Apple Spritzer, and enters the spritzer category.
In the same year, Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. parts ways with Bad Pyrmonter Mineral-und Heilquellen GmbH & Co. KG.
With an eye on current and forecasted trends, Gerolsteiner revisits the branding of its entire portfolio Gerolsteiner brand umbrella. Also, Gerolsteiner Naturell (previously Gerolsteiner Excelsis), the Gerolsteiner Mineral Water without carbonic acid, is introduced in larger size; a 1.5 litre PET reusable bottle.
At this time, Gerolsteiner Brunnen GmbH & Co. parts ways with Margon-Brunnen GmbH and Glashäger-Brunnen GmbH Bad Doberan.
Gerolsteiner launches its Office Line, making the company the first supplier of a mobile water dispenser for chilled mineral water. The dispenser has an integrated cooling system and is equipped with a 5 litre bottle of Gerolsteiner Naturell.
With the introduction of Gerolsteiner Fit, Gerolsteiner closes the gap between flavoured waters and spritzers.
Gerolsteiner meets consumer demand for on-the-go and bulk packaging and expands its non-reusable bottle portfolio with new bottle sizes, from 0.5 to 1.5 litres.
By introducing Gerolsteiner Moment, Gerolsteiner Naturell plus Frucht and Gerolsteiner Sport, Gerolsteiner offers even more variety for every drinking occasion.
Gerolsteiner Linée enters the spotlight. This vitality beverage is carbonated and comes in three fruit varieties. It is available in a new 0.75 litre PET non-reusable container.
Gerolsteiner Stille Quelle (still spring), which has a reduced carbonic acid, is renamed Gerolsteiner Medium.
Gerolsteiner invigorates its brand and strategically focuses on its core brand competency “natural mineral water” in a new communications campaign. Key elements of which include highlighting the differences between mineral waters, superior quality and taste.
Never known to lag behind, once again Gerolsteiner invests in one of world’s most technically advanced bottling facilities for reusable mineral water glass bottles, thereby underpinning their leadership in the industry.
Relaunch of the Gerolsteiner Office Line: the water dispenser for natural mineral water, Gerolsteiner Naturell features a new design and advanced technology.
Gerolsteiner also introduced transport-optimised glass bottles for export, that are bottles made of a lightweight, but very strong glass.
Gerolsteiner expands product line with orange and lemon flavoured lemonades (soft drinks). Both beverages have a particularly high fruit content (10 percent) and are made without additives and preservatives.
Gerolsteiner celebrates the 125th anniversary of its brand. Gerolsteiner has grown from a small regional mineral water company to a category leader in Germany and a major player in the international market.
A spirit of technical innovation has always been at the core of the company’s success. One of the most meaningful investments was concluded in the company’s anniversary year. The production, loading and dispatch of non-reusable and reusable bottles was restructured and the latest technology was installed to increase efficiency, minimize waste and ensure the strictest quality controls.
Gerolsteiner Plus in lime, blood orange and grapefruit flavours made their debut just in time for summer sun and festivities!
Also, a seasonal drink Gerolsteiner Samba 2014 was also introduced to market to coincide football’s (soccer’s) 2014 World Cup in Brazil. And yes, we’re still celebrating!
Gerolsteiner can look back on a rich and varied history spanning more than 125 years, the milestones of which are outlined in a 150 pages chronicle. This publication covers the company’s major developments, changing mineral water drinking habits, pertinent quotes and previously unpublished photos from Gerolsteiner historical archives. Unfortunately we can only offer this resource in German. If you have any questions about our heritage, please contact our Customer Service team, who will be happy to assist you.
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