From one family
What began in 1844 as a small family
distillery in the Kreuz-Post inn
has today grown into a medium-sized company.
The bottle that would go on to write history and serve as a model for almost all Black Forest fruit brandies dates from 1932.
What’s the best way to start a story that spans two centuries? Perhaps with the object that most clearly captures and puts the spirit of the story into words – and by “spirit” we mean both senses of the term. You see, the famous Schladerer bottle not only holds a spirit made from the best fruit, but also encapsulates the spirit of the family behind the popular fruit brandy specialties: the Schladerer family. The Schladerer bottle is a symbol of the passion – for unspoiled nature, choice fruits, solid craftsmanship and the highest quality – that the Schladerer family has poured into its fruit brandies from the very beginning. Our story begins in Bamlach am Oberrhein near Basel, which is where Sixtus Balthasar Schladerer was born in 1790. In 1813, he took up the craft of distilling fruit at his family home, laying the foundations for Schladerer’s future success story. His son Sixtus moved to Staufen im Breisgau in 1844, married the daughter of the Kreuz Inn’s innkeeper and went on to manage the establishment.
Connected to the inn was a post house, which explains why the inn was later renamed the Kreuz-Post and why the Schladerer coat of arms still bears a post horn today. Sixtus inherited his father’s passion for distilling fruit and was able to generate enthusiasm for his fruit brandies that extended far beyond his guests at the Kreuz-Post. Sixtus’s son, Hermann Schladerer, took over the reputable inn in 1876, along with its farm, vineyards and distillery, and turned it into one of the most popular inns around, with many guests traveling specifically to stay there from neighboring Switzerland and Alsace. Hermann also perfected and refined the art of distilling fruit brandy, transforming his “Chriesiwässerli” (Kirsch) into a sought-after signature drink.
However, it was the next generation of the family that would make the Schladerer name known the world over. Hermann’s son, Alfred, took over his parents’ business in 1919, devoting himself entirely to expanding the family distillery. A qualified restaurateur who had trained in France and England, and something of a marketing pioneer, he understood how to raise the profile of his creations, not least by designing the aforementioned square bottle.
Family and tradition
Sixtus Balthasar Schladerer in his family distillery in 1813.
After Alfred passed away much too soon in 1956, his wife, Greta Schladerer, inherited the business. Under her direction, the brand enjoyed even wider success and gained international recognition. In 1980, Nicolaus Schladerer, Greta’s adopted son, took over the reins of the company as its principal managing director. Until his death in 2004, he strengthened the reputation and success of the brand with charisma, commitment and an unerring instinct for how to achieve supreme quality in everything, from products to marketing. Heinrich Ulmann, a co-partner who had been helping to manage the company for many years, then assumed sole responsibility for running the family business.
Today, Philipp Schladerer, who has been managing director of the company since 2010, represents the sixth generation of the Schladerer family. As Nicolaus Schladerer’s son, he was practically born with a love of the local nature and its fruits and a passion for the art of distilling fruit brandy. His aspiration is to preserve traditional values while meeting modern needs in order to lead the company into a future that is both successful and sustainable. From Sixtus Balthasar Schladerer’s days as an amateur distiller to Philipp Schladerer’s position at the head of a world-renowned brand, the history of the Schladerer family is a true tale of success. And it is no coincidence that it mirrors the story of Black Forest fruit brandy itself. After all, the development of simple country schnapps into internationally recognized branded spirits would not have been possible had Schladerer’s prudent quality and pricing policies and consistent marketing activities not made Black Forest fruit brandy popular around the world. Nothing illustrates this better – and this brings us full circle – than the way in which the Schladerer bottle with its unique design is frequently copied yet never equaled and is regarded by all connoisseurs as representing the quintessential premium Black Forest fruit brandy.
Managing Director Philipp Schladerer in one of the many traditional orchards found in the Markgräflerland regio