Afri-cola and bluna – the two brands of soft drinks are certainly still familiar to older people. The typical cola taste still exists – as winella-cola. As a former licensee of the bluna company in poland, the soft drink manufacturer in muhlhausen still receives the afri-cola basic ingredient.
Cornelia wichert, the great-great-granddaughter of company founder sebastian wichert, recently experienced a completely different kind of nostalgia. Two bottles of lemonade from your company were found in a broken-down restaurant. Bottling date: 1996.
Cornelia and her husband siegfried tested the one. "It didn't have as much carbon dioxide, but it wasn't spoiled at all", she reports and comes to a very important topic for her: preserving drinks. "Drinks with more than twelve percent fruit juice content must be preserved. We pasteurize them. That's why we only use glass bottles and metal caps."
Cleaning and filling are fully automatic
This explains the deafening noise in the bottling hall. The bottles ring against each other as they are conveyed on the special conveyor belts from the winding machine to the filling roundel and then on through the labeling machine to a stacking station from which the "gripper arms" are removed lifting an entire bottle battery into the crate. 60,000 bottles make the rounds every day. 30.000 liters. From the empty bottle in the box to the newly filled one in the box, all processes are fully automatic.
But people are not abundant here. A young woman sits next to an illuminated screen. All freshly spooled bottles must pass through him. If one more trace of pollution, the device would sound the alarm. In addition the woman still has the clicking bottle row in the eye and could seize if necessary.
The next "guard post has siegfried wichert in charge. "We are currently bottling cola. It foams easily", he says and reaches for a bottle, which is therefore less full than the other one, and puts it aside.
"The best-selling cola drink is our cola mix", says cornelia, when the filling changes from cola to cola light. "And the other is our apple spritzer." It has 55 percent fruit juice content. Must be pasteurized. Plastic bottles and plastic caps can't withstand the necessary temperature. It only works with preservatives. So-called "shrinkage substances", which actually degrade in a short time and therefore do not have to be declared, are useless.
"PET bottles are supplied as blanks", says cornelia, describing a span-long object with her hand. Shortly before production, the tiny boxes are inflated and antiseptically sprayed on the inside and outside, explains the expert, who knows from her own experience the suffering of allergy sufferers.
Plastic bottles don't really fit in with the fact that winella has been certified organic since 2008.
Pear, cherry and nectarine
The quiet syrup room is the realm of siegfried. Here he prepares various drink mixtures from raw materials, fruit juice and spices. Cornelia opens a bottle. Pear scent is immediately noticeable. "This is our dream on, made of pear and plum with 30 percent fruit", she explains. "That's something for women",she adds and opens the next bottle with a dark red liquid: 12 up is written on the label and inside is a drink made of apple juice and cherry. "And this is made from oranges and nectarines. One of the restaurants offers this as a house cocktail when filled with sparkling wine," she adds, she shows examples from production.
In terms of quantity, these tantalizing drinks are marginal. You can find out what new products are coming onto the market every year at the trade fair in nurnberg. And chooses wisely.
Because every new mix in the range comes at a cost: for advertising and for labels, for example.And sometimes a hit turns out to be a flop after only a short time. Like the
green apple lemonade. "At first, the bottles were rubbing together, but after a few months the air was gone. People must have gotten drunk on it," says cornelia, tells cornelia. Franks are conservative. Apparently, this is also the case with the taste of beverage. It's a good thing that winella also offers water. "From the ebrachtal spring. It has constantly checked mineral water quality", says cornelia and then reveals a change in taste. Whereas in the past only sparkling water with carbonic acid was in demand, today two-thirds of the bottles are filled with still water.