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June 2016 - BLEFA – stainless steel keg manufacturer with a 120-year history

Blefa is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stainless steel kegs for the beverage industry and has a very long history. The company was founded in 1896 in the Siegerland town of Kreuztal as a manufacturer of sheet steel products and barrels. The original German name of “Blechwaren- und Fassfabrik” is the root of the current name BLEFA - since 2016 once again the valid name for this enterprise.

Wide-ranging product assortment

BLEFA can look back on a very eventful history, which saw countless changes in the assortment of products manufactured. It all began in 1896 with the production of sheet metal goods, such as tableware or corrugated sheets by the Stähler GmbH roller plant in Eichen. Over the course of the company’s history, countless other products were manufactured. These included the “Constructa” washing machine, barrels, drums, jugs and cans, right up to the still well-know skylight windows.

In 1964, the first stainless steel keg for the beverage industry was developed in Great Britain, which was to have a significant influence on the future of BLEFA. This new keg was a barrel that eventually went on to replace the aluminium beer barrels frequently used at that time.

The first kegs in Kreuztal were manufactured in 1968 until - parallel to other products - BLEFA began producing deep-drawn stainless steel kegs in series in 1974. From 1990, production operations were then concentrated completely on manufacturing stainless steel kegs.

Eventful history

Since its establishment in 1896, BLEFA was always part of a larger overall enterprise. Consequently, in the wake of restructuring measures, there were regular changes of ownership (e. g. incorporation into the Hoesch Group and later into the Friedrich- Krupp Hoesch AG).

he last change took place in 1995, when the Franke Group (Aarburg, Switzerland) acquired BLEFA from its then owners, the Friedrich-Krupp Hoesch AG. In the following years, the Franke Group consolidated all its keg activities in Kreuztal, building up extensive expertise in the manufacture of deep drawn stainless steel kegs. Consistent product quality, comprehensive technical know-how and a highly efficient keg service network have led to BLEFA, under the corporate name of “Franke BLEFA”, making a reputable name for itself in the beverage industry.

Today, BLEFA is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of deep-drawn stainless steel kegs and has produced millions of reliable beer barrels which are still in use.

The future is once again BLEFA

As part of a restructuring programme within the Franke Group, it was decided in 2016 to spin off Franke BLEFA and put it directly under the ownership of Artemis Holding. Essentially, not very much has changed for BLEFA, because Artemis is also the owner of the Franke Group.

So, both for customers and suppliers, things will still be very familiar, as the product and the promised quality will remain the same. All that’s changed is the name – and so, after 120 years, the company has come full circle. Franke BLEFA is now once again BLEFA – an enterprise with a long-standing tradition.

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