“Kettle Money” as a Monetary Blessing

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Community breweries got started in the 15th century. Local citizens started the brew houses to save money and make beer more efficiently compared to everybody making their own beers at home.

These community breweries did not take away any of the advantages of home brewing. The locals still cultivated the barley and hops, and they cut the wood needed for mashing and boiling. A valued waste product of beer production was the spent grain. Due to its high protein content, it was used as cattle feed especially in the winter. The brewery also brought additional income for the community in the form of “kettle money” which was a user fee. After 1807, many community breweries were sold by the cities that owned them.

Most of the time, the community breweries were acquired by their most active users and turned into cooperatives. Local citizens that were not members were still allowed to use the brewery, but for a higher fee. There are still a few brewery coops in operation throughout Franconia.

The most famous, operating brewery cooperative is the one in Neuhaus an der Pegnitz. It was founded in 1415 and today, three brew masters take turns making the renowned “Märzen vom Fass” beer. Other functioning brewery cooperatives can be found in Rossach, Sesslach, and in Rossfeld near the city of Coburg.

A Bundle of Twigs as a Sign for Beer: There is yet another Franconian tradition that stems from the time of the community breweries: The “Flindern.” “Flindern” was the process of regulating the number of citizens who were able to sell and serve their brews at any given time. There was a lottery that dictated who was entitled each week throughout the summer months.

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