When Georg Kreuzberg bought an Eifel vineyard in 1852, he had no idea what he would find under the vines. When he dug down to discover why his grapes were not growing, he unearthed a spring of top-quality mineral water and named it Apollinaris after the patron saint of wine. Not the first or last evidence of an almost symbiotic relationship between the fruit of the vine and a first-rate food and drink industry nourished by Rhineland-Palatinate’s fertile soils and pure spring waters.
16 mineral-water companies (e.g. Gerolsteiner, Nestlé Waters and Fachingen), numerous breweries of national and international fame (e.g. Bitburger), fruit-juice manufacturers such as Eckes-Granini, large-scale dairies (e.g. Arla and Hochwald), leading manufacturers of sweets and snacks such as Intersnack, Haribo, Griesson and Wawi, frozen-food companies like Dr Oetker and Frosta, and manufacturers of bakery products (e.g. Ditsch) have made Rhineland-Palatinate a leading location for the food and drink industry.
Its economic importance in Rhineland-Palatinate is significantly higher than in Germany as a whole, as its share of turnover is 2.7 times and of employment 2.1 times higher than the German average. What’s more, the food and drink industry’s success stories in Rhineland-Palatinate are not just grounded in the good quality of the local water and soil.
Rhineland-Palatinate is excellently equipped to profit from the preference of consumers in Germany and abroad for high-quality food and drink from a specific region. This state is rich in agricultural land, pure spring waters and natural resources. Logistically speaking, it could not be better located – at the heart of Europe with excellent road, rail and inland waterway links to the rest of Germany and the neighbouring countries.
Since 1936, the German Food Academy in Neuwied has been successfully training young people for a career in the retail food industry. The Food Academy on the banks of the Rhine is the only technical college of its kind in Germany. Currently, the Food Academy is building a Supermarket Competence Centre where vocational trainees and management recruits will receive a comprehensive set of supermarket-related skills in practice-oriented courses. www.food-akademie.de
Two universities in Rhineland-Palatinate provide the food and drink industry with a steady supply of graduate recruits. Trier University of Applied Sciences offers students a B.Eng. degree in food technology (www.hochschule-trier.de) and Kaiserslautern University of Applied Sciences (www.uni-kl.de) a B.Sc. in food chemistry.
Just across the River Rhine from Ingelheim and Bingen, Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences offers B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree programs in beverage technology with a special emphasis on fruit juice, beer and spirits. The University’s Department of Beverage Research set up in 2018 mainly focuses on process technology and the physio-chemical characterization of alcohol-free and alcoholic beverages combined with the corresponding development of analytical methods.