We, the Abi 1 economics class, had the chance to visit the companies Elobau and the Härle brewery in Leutkirch in the Allgäu. We were able to gain insights into two very special companies.
At Elobau, we were welcomed by Michael Hetzer, the former owner. He explained the company's employee- and future-focused philosophy, aimed at sustainability. He even implemented this orientation in the corporate form by transferring his ownership of the company to a foundation. As he led the course through the state-of-the-art production facilities on site, we were impressed by the size and efficiency of the production processes, some of which are automated by the most recent technology.
After a final round of questions, we set off for the Härle brewery in the historic centre of Leutkirch. Although this company was only a few kilometres away from Elobau, the contrasts were significant. The company, which was founded in 1897, is still mostly located in the buildings from back then. The focus on tradition was immediately made clear to us by Gottfried Härle, who is already the 4th generation to run the family business. This was followed by a detailed tour of the brewery facility. Despite the old building, the most modern brewery technology is installed inside. During the tour, it became clear again and again how long-term he plans the future of the company, for example by introducing new products such as the refreshing drink "Seezüngle". We also learned that the brewery, like Elobau, is very focused on sustainability.
It was interesting to see how two companies as different as Elobau and Härle – one a highly technological industrial company, the other a tradition-based brewery – are very different, but both place a high value on sustainability and regional production. All in all, when we got back on the bus, it was a very enlightening day that taught us both similarities and differences between companies, especially through the contrast of these two companies.