Brewery suspends operations after storks build nest in chimney

A brewery in the German state of Bavaria has been forced to suspend beer production after a family of storks made themselves at home in one of its chimneys. The plucky birds — a protected species in Germany — built a nest in the Zwanzger brewery in the village of Uehlfeld in early spring, bringing production to a grinding halt, brewer Christian Zwanzger told AFP.

Uehlfeld has long been a favorite haunt for the storks, which often return to the same spots every year to build their nests.

“We already had one last year (on the roof) and the young storks, when they come back, often come to the same place. So they looked for a place to build their nest and they did it on the chimney of the brewery,” Zwanzger said.

He and his team had planned to wait until the nest was completed and then raise it out of the chimney — but then Germany went into lockdown due to the coronavirus.

That means they had to wait until now to get the specialist help needed to deal with the nest, as baby storks have since hatched. The brewery is now hoping to move the nest next week.

In the meantime, stocks of beer are running low — and even if brewing resumes next week, the beer will not be ready until mid-September.

But Zwanzger is not bitter. “Storks love to come to us. Here in Uehlfeld we have about 35 nests,” he said.

Indeed, the storks appeared to be having their time of their lives on the roof of the brewery, merrily clucking and guarding their nest with no regard for the trouble they have caused.