Bock beer, culture and politics

From 1885, what had begun as a primitive beer garden developed into a small-scale entertainment park, complete with halls and bars where the bock beer festivals continued to be celebrated, but which also hosted numerous other events – concerts, theatrical performances and boxing matches.

The halls were not only used for entertainment, but also for political functions. In particular, the Bockbrauerei was an important meeting place for the Berlin labour movement and the emerging Social Democratic movement. At a workers’ festival marking the abolition of the Anti-Socialist Law on 30 September 1890, August Bebel, one of the founders of German Social Democracy, appeared before a packed audience.

The construction of apartment buildings on the northern edge of the land belonging to the brewery did not begin until the 1890s. In 1890, Strasse 23 (23rd Street) was renamed Fidicinstrasse in honour of the Berlin historian and municipal archivist Carl Ernst Fidicin (1802-1883), and in 1898 Strasse 22 was named Schwiebusser Strasse after the town of Schwiebus.

The new ‘Schwankhalle’ was constructed in 1905 according to the plans of the architects Lachmann and Zauber. This is where the barrels were cleaned by being rinsed in water. The hall included a storage area and a bottling cellar, and its façade facing the yard is still the jewel of the factory building complex today.

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