From Brandy to Brand – New WeinWelt

On May 11th 1892, distiller Hugo Asbach founded his company under the name “Export Compagnie für Deutschen Cognac” (export company for German cognac). His aim was to produce German Cognac which was to be of equal quality to its French counterpart. On March 18th 1908, the brand name “Asbach & Co. Uralt” was registered at the Trade Registry of the Imperial Patent Office.

This was the kick-off for a long-lasting success story. Asbach Uralt became the German showcase brandy, advancing to a very popular brand and – at least in Germany – becoming more popular than the French Cognac. Not least because the Treaty of Versailles explicitly forbade German traders to use the term Cognac. Hence the term Weinbrand (brandy) became popular in Germany.

In 1973 the ad slogan “Im Asbach-Uralt ist der Geist des Weines” (In Asbach-Uralt is the Spirit of Wine) was invented, a slogan still used today. 1957 Rüdesheimer coffee was first served, a coffee speciality made with Asbach Uralt. The enterprise in Rüdesheim grew to a large-scale company. Besides the distillery, a confiserie was established, where the famous brandy chocolates were produced. In 1991 the family sold the company to the British company United Distillers. Following economic problems and numerous changes in ownership, Asbach is owned by the Underberg group since 2002. Parts of production and bottling as well the majority of distillation has since been outsourced.

After more than 100 years, in 2007 the bottling of spirits came to a final end in Rüdesheim with the move to Wilthen in Saxon. The buildings were neglected and left to ruin. Vintage car lover and business man Gerhard Heukerott then bought the site, planning a vintage car city. However, these plans never materialized. The Wendel family then took over in 2015, using parts of the buildings as restauration workshop for their mechanical musical instruments. The visitors should be able to see how these intricate machines are repaired. Plans were made for the buildings which are under monumental protection, to bring in business, shops as well as concerts and events such as the Rheingau Musik Festival. Since 2017, the spirit of the wine lives on in the unique concrete tanks of the distillery with the “RheinWeinWelt”. The concept and the atmosphere are quite unique in Germany.

Impressions of the premises after clearing out and prior to renovation

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