The 1. May, ascension day, corpus christi and whitsun – holidays that normally attract people to the region's cellars in droves. This year they stayed away. With continuous rain for almost the whole of may, the benches remained empty and the taps dry. The innkeepers are bringing in a lot of revenue.
"May and june are usually our main months. What you don't make there in sales, you don't get back in", says norbert fischer. He runs the beer cellar on the outskirts of zentbechhofen together with his wife – and when necessary some helpers. 400 guests can be accommodated in the idyllically situated bierkeller. Unlike previous years, however, it was not yet full to bursting this year.
Even festivals were rained out
"One third of the annual turnover has been lost", estimates norbert fischer. It's good to have a second leg to stand on as a cellar owner. In the case of brewmaster fischer, it's his own brewery in greuth and the inn in the same part of hochstadt that the family runs in winter. He also supplies his beer to festivals in the region, but so far they have also been rained out. "Only the beverage markers are running", says the brewmaster.
In addition to the weather, other things also cause problems for the cellar keepers. That is, for example, the increasing number of club parties in the region. The more people attend such festivities organized by associations, the less they go to the cellars.
Changeable weather is a major problem not only for kellerwirt norbert fischer. "Better right now or completely rained out", he says. Then one could calculate better with the purchases and the preparations.
"The changeable hurts", also says benno wirth. He has been running the neuhauser keller in the middle of the forest for 13 years with his company. Only on the third or fourth rainy day people started to come again after a period of bad weather, says benno wirth. The regulars know that it takes a long time after rainy weather for the neuhauser keller to dry out again.
Good additional business
For the wirth family the cellar business is one of several mainstays. The family business employs 25 people and also runs a hotel, an inn, a brewery and a distillery. "Anyone who has to live on just one beer garden is looking old at the moment", says the neuhauser entrepreneur. He assumes in the first weeks of this season of two-thirds less turnover. Wirth sees the cellar operation as "a good additional business", but that would also require a lot of land. Wirth plans to spend about 10,000 euros on preparations for each season.
The laufer keller, located between aisch and lauf on the edge of the forest, is also very popular in the region. Helmut fischer is the director, and has been for 30 years. He was reluctant to join in the lamentation of his colleagues. The loss of revenue in may could "still be made up this year", fischer is confident. Over the years, this always balances itself out again.
For helmut fischer from lauf, the cellar is the main source of income, but he also runs an agricultural business, a carp farm and a guesthouse.