St. Georg Brewery

Georg I. Heinrich Ritter Mautner von Markhof moved in 1864 to a newly founded factory in Prager Straße 20, Vienna Floridsdorf. In 1872, he bought a mill and, together with his brother-in-law Otto Freiherr von Waechter, expanded the business to include a malt factory, which operated under the name “Waechter & Mautner” and soon became one of the largest in Austria. In 1884, he acquired a small brewery in Leopoldsdorf, but sold it five years later to the Waechter family. After the fire in the mill connected to the yeast factory in Floridsdorf, he decided in 1892 to build his own new brewery and invested his proceeds in the foundation of his own beer production, which he named “Brauerei zum Sankt Georg”. The plant went into operation in February 1893. When St. Georg was founded, Adolf Ignaz’s “contract penalty” (to prevent rivalry) to his brother Carl Ferdinand (he ran the St. Marx Brewery), which today is worth about 2.5 million euros and was of course paid by mutual agreement, became due.

Georg Heinrich had also decided to brew a beer in Vienna, which did not need to shy away from the comparison with the famous Pilsner Urquell and that he lived up to his claim “There can be no better beer than ours” was also be proven subsequently by numerous awards. Within a very short time, St. Georg – after Schwechat, Sankt Marx and Liesing – rose to become the fourth largest brewery in Vienna. His further principles “care and appreciation of customers”, “best understanding and a warm heart for employees and workers” and “only the best raw material was to be used to produce the most excellent product” not only reflect his father’s spirit, but also played a major role in his success. For the first time the opinion that “a light beer of the quality mentioned could only be produced on the spot in Pilsen” was thus refuted. The favorable location in the up-and-coming and densely populated community near the connecting track to the northwest railway behind the brewery also spoke in favor of the start of brewing in Floridsdorf. Floridsdorf would have almost become the capital of Lower Austria if Karl Lueger hadn’t prevailed as Vienna’s mayor and connected it to Vienna.

With the foundation, Georg Heinrich also took a great risk. Specialists advised against this because Today, when you don’t know in the morning what the evening will bring, new foundations would only play into the hands of the tax authoritiesor “Nowadays one should wait tactfully with the founding of breweries and not, at the risk of overloading the money market, at any price to invest the still liquid capital in brewery shares, because this would force dividends artificially at the cost of the beer price or quality, or the stop of the payment of dividends at all”. Source Gambrinus

Soon after the brewery was founded, Georg Heinrich and his sons Theodor I and Georg II Anton started to produce three types of beer. The 10 to 11-degree draft beer, a 13 to 14-degree Viennese lager beer and a light, hop-bitter beer brewed like Pilsner beer, which was called Märzen beer. This bottom-fermented St. Georgs Märzen beer was soon to become one of the most famous beers in Europe. In addition to the awarding of the honorary diploma at the “International II. Viennese Cooking Art Exhibition” in 1898, the highest award for consumers and innkeepers in terms of equality with the Pilsner, the fact that the 200,000 hectoliter mark was exceeded in 1900 (with 31 officials and 300 workers) attested its immense quality and popularity. A success that had never been seen before in the brewery industry within such a short production time. The peculiarity was the above-ground storage and proofing cellar on the first floor “with the very best ice and other machines”. As they only worked with the best ingredients they soon reached the goal of achieving the same quality as their model beer in Pilsen. However, they initially had to struggle with the expected great financial difficulties and Theodor I recalled that the last guilder was used to build beer deposits from former stables.

A curiosity of the brewery were two Indian water buffalos that pulled a wagon that ran between the two locations Prager Strasse 20 (brewery) and 31 (cooperage). Carl Ferdinand had already used two such buffalo in St. Marx. Just like the Hungarian oxen with the distant, twisted horns of the Dreher brewery, they were the trademark of St. Georg.

When Georg I. Heinrich died in 1904, he left a company that was economically so extremely successful that his sons Theodor I and Georg II Anton, who took over the businesses in Floridsdorf and Simmering (yeast production, acquired from Victor in 1903), had to pay their siblings a total of 4 Millions of crowns (equivalent to approximately 17.5 million euros) as an inheritance (in ten equal annual installments). Miraculously, the two sons managed to survive the extremely critical years that followed. Not only did the installments have to be raised, there was a price war with Gösser and World War I also had left its mark. The brewing industry fought a gigantic struggle for survival. People no longer had the financial means to afford quality, and the materials that were forced to be used for war purposes, especially copper, could not be replaced at the production facilities due to a lack of liquidity. Production fell from 200,000 hectoliters (1913) to 130,000 and in 1936 it was barely 60,000.

In 1930, the St. Georg was converted into a joint-stock company with the name Mautner Markhof Brauerei St. Georg AG, the share capital was 6 million old pre-war shillings (equivalent to approx. 14.5 million euros). Theodor was president of the board of directors, his brother Georg acted as vice president and their eldest sons Gerhard and Georg III. became members of the Board of Directors. However, the financial situation was hopeless and the payment of a dividend could not even be considered in a single year. Austria was facing an economic abyss in the 1930s, unemployment had long since become unsustainable, tens of thousands of people did not receive no support whatsoever, which was equivalent to a death sentence. Without Simmering, St. Georg as an independent company would have been forced to liquidate with a maximum liquidation proceeds of zero.

Nevertheless, this brewery should still turn out as extremely profitable. In 1936, the family was able to take over the majority of the shares in the Schwechat Brewery. Unfortunately, St. Georg had to be shut down and closed at the same time, after only 43 years. The site was mostly destroyed at the end of World War II and the remaining parts of the building were removed in 1955.

Untrennbar verbunden mit der Brauerei ist das Mautner Schlössl, der ehemalige, bis heute als Bezirksmuseum erhaltene, Familiensitz.