How many times did I pass this building in my life? Honestly it may be more than a thousand times. It’s right next to the main street towards the airport, the Autobahn, a friend of mine, my university and an industrial area. In December 2013 there were some buildings in front, but they’ve already been removed.
The complex of two buildings was built in 1904 and the C.A.F Kahlbaum Spritfabrik GmbH (Carl August Friedrich Kahlbaum Spirit [alcohol] Ltd). Since 1920 the factory was leased to the state. In the First World War the German state had a monopole on producing spirit, because the earnings were needed for the war. After 1945 spirituous beverages were produced at this location by VEB Spiritus Adlershof (Berlin Beverage industry). Till 1960 the alcohol of distilleries in the vicinity was delivered by train, but was changed to trucks afterwards. The factory was very productive. It exported its best spirit (Primasprit for food and pharmaceutical industry) to West Germany.
In 1965 VEB Spiritus Adlershof was merged with VEB Kahlbaum Bärensiegel and renamed to VEB Bärensiegel Berlin. The production of highly demanded Primasprit continued though.
After the reunification VEB Bärensiegel was said to be not competitive. The result was 50 fired employees and a shut down of production. Some employees didn’t want to give up and founded a new company. They had official requirements for continuing a production, but it seemed there was a lack of capital to buy the buildings. In 1992 Berkel AHK (AußenHandelsKontor, office of foreign commerce) appeared as an investor. What continued next is a bit blurred in my opinion. It seems the factory was processed for a couple of years, but then shut down completely.
Next to the buildings car shops opened. In 2013 it was decided to partly destruct the area and integrate a shopping mall in the old factory building.
When I visited the building, I had to climb 3 fences, because I wanted to avoid being seen from the busy roads. All the car shops are torn down and two excavator are still on the area.
I didn’t see any administration building, which – according to some other photos – seemed pretty interesting…So I’ve only been to the tank building and machine building.
***UPDATE September 2014***
The second building – the one with the big tanks inside (one with Jesus) – has been teared down.