Zwieback- und Keksfabrik Brandt
THE ABANDONED COOKIE FACTORY IN GERMANY
‘Zwieback- und Keksfabrik Brandt’, today named ‘Brandt Zwieback-Schokoladen’ is an industrial bakery in Germany. The company was established on 12 October 1912 in Hagen by Carl Brandt. It is famous for its rusk and biscuits.
On October 21, 1912, the 26-year-old master baker and confectioner Carl Brandt and his brother Fritz Brandt founded the ‘Märkische Zwieback- und Keksfabrik C. & F. Brandt GmbH’ in Haspe, today a district of Hagen. Zwieback is a type of rusk, keks is the German name for biscuits.
The brothers had the aim to produce affordable rusks and sponge cakes for the man on the street.
In 1929, the production of rusks was mechanized, and the first self-developed and patented rusk cutting machine was used by the Brandt company. Eight years later, 25 years after its founding, the company already had 700 employees.
When Carl Brandt died in 1965, his wife, Betty Brandt, who was 20 years his junior, took over the management of the company. Her regime at the company was strict, her social commitment legendary. After the death of Betty Brandt in 1984, Carl-Jürgen Brandt, the adopted son of the company founder, became the sole shareholder of the company. Today his two sons Carl-Heinz and Christoph Brandt as well as two other managing directors are running the company.
Carl-Jürgen Brandt initiated in 2003 the move of the works to Ohrdruf in East Germany. The population of Hagen is in shock. In Hagen, almost 500 employees became unemployed, only four moved to Ohrdruf. The last rusk in Hagen rolled off the production line on December 5, 2003.
Part of the former factory site is converted into a retail park, where Brandt has its administration together with other companies, including an Aldi store and a branch of the DM drugstore chain. I visited the old bakery in 2020.