A fairy-tale success story: Rotkäppchen

Once upon a time, long, long ago … It was in 1856 that the brothers Moritz and Julius Kloss, together with their friend Carl Foerster, founded the “Freyburger Champagner-Fabrik-Gesellschaft”.In 1894, the brandname “Monopol” had to be changed because of a legal dispute on nomenclature, so from then on Kloss & Foerster called their principal product “Rotkäppchen” after the red cap on the bottles.

From then on, the brand’s history was a turbulent one. In 1948, the company was nationalised by the Communist regime, and renamed “VEB Rotkäppchen Sektkellerei Freyburg”. Following German reunification, it was acquired in 1993 under a management buy-out by a Gunter Heise, Jutta Polomski, Dr. Lutz Lange, Ulrich Wiegel and Hans-Jürgen Krieger, plus the Harald Eckes-Chantré family, as external partners. The zenith during the Communist era was an output of 15.3 million bottles in 1987, and the nadir after reunification was a meagre 2.9 million bottles in 1991.

But then things took off. In 2002, Rotkäppchen was the first and only east German beverage company to purchase one of its west German counterparts: the German Seagram organisation, with the Mumm, Jules Mumm and MM Extra brands, and two sekt production facilities in Hochheim am Main and Eltville am Rhein. One year later, they were joined by the privately owned sekt producer Geldermann Privatsektkellerei in Breisach, Baden.

So the tradition-steeped brand embarked on a fairy-tale rise to ascendancy – and even through all the vicissitudes of history, the Red Cap was always there to ensure recognition value. The sekt brand’s symbol, the red cap, is applied by a capsule applicator, which is electronically monobloc-synchronised with the Topmodule labeller. The electronic monobloc synchronisation means there’s a very short buffering section between the two machines, which was absolutely essential given the very limited amount of space available.

The Topmodule uses three cold-glue stations to dress the sekt bottles in shoulder and back labels, plus body bands. And a Checkmat 731 EM monitors the bottles for proper label position. A linear distributor is used to then divide the finished bottles up into five possible lanes, one of them for manual display packaging, and four lanes for automated packing.

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