Looking back in the history of the German economy one realizes that beer is a good basis for doing business. Among the 50 oldest still operating German companies more than 80% are breweries. According to the Hoppenstedt business information service provider, the oldest German company was founded 967 years ago in Bavaria. It was called the Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan and founded as soon as in 1040 in Freising near Munich.
Ten years later the Klosterbrauerei Weltenburg, which considers itself to be the world´s largest monastery brewery, was set up in Regensburg. And since the year 1120 the Lazarus Hilfswerk based in Hürth near Cologne has been operating and is therefore the third oldest company in Germany.
Besides numerous breweries there are also winegrowing estates and hotels among the top 50 of the oldest companies. According to Hoppenstedt, the oldest winegrowing estate is Weingut Fürst zu Hohenlohe Oehringen while the Friedrich Hans Andernach Pilgrim-Haus is the oldest hotel according to the Hoppenstedt archive. German universities and pharmacies have a long company history too. All of the 50 oldest and still operating companies were founded earlier than 1450.
In other lines of industry companies were founded later. The first company in the construction industry was set up in 1645 and was called the Gerüstbau Dostmann GmbH. In the field of metal production and processing the first company was launched in the year 1440 as the Keulahütte GmbH in Krauschwitz. The first banks and insurance companies were founded in the late 17th century.
The top 10 of the oldest German companies still operating:
- since 1040: Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, Freising
- since 1050: Klosterbrauerei Weltenburg GmbH, Regensburg
- since 1120: Lazarus Hilfswerk in Deutschland e.V., Hürth
- since 1131: Privatbrauerei Brüne GmbH, Bad Arolsen
- since 1131: Schloßbrauerei Herrngiersdorf, Herrngiersdorf
- since 1160: Gräfliches Hofbrauhaus Freising GmbH, Freising
- since 1181: Irseer Klosterbräu GmbH & Co. KG, Irsee
- since 1191: Morasch GmbH Einbauküchen und Innenausbau, Volkenschwand
- since 1242: Weingut Fürst zu Hohenlohe Oehringen, Öhringen
- since 1258: Fürstlich Castellsches Domänenamt 1258 Castell