At the end of the 19th century a better name for Prenzlauer Berg might have been Beer mountain. The Berlin district was beer heaven. Beer gardens thrived and there were beer breweries on nearly every corner or hill. Such as the Kulturbrauerei, Willner Brauerei and of course, the brewery on the Pfefferberg.
Berlin was still quite a small village at the time, ground was cheap and the people living in the neighborhood were thirsty and enjoyed a good beer when they were done working. Brewer Joseph Pfeffer created the brewery on top of the hill, overlooking Schonhauserallee. The people in Prenzlauer Berg must have liked what came out of his fusts, because the hill soon got nicknamed Pfefferberg.
The name remained, but the brewery got many more owners. And those owners not only made beers. There was a chocolate factory, a pig farm and a bakery. The Germania Brotbackerei Pfefferberg not only baked breads for the hungry people of Berlin, but also for the Wehrmacht soldiers.
People took shelter during the Second World War bomb nights as well. It also was a printing office. The East German newspaper Neues Deutschland was printed at the premisses of the Pfefferberg and the communal housing unit had their offices here. In the garden people listened to music performances.
All those different functions didn’t do the building much good. It looked pretty battered just after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. But the people living in Prenzlauer Berg cared a lot about the old brewery and the adjacent buildings. They didn’t want it sold to a rich guy or gal to make something posh out of it. They wanted the Pfefferberg to be important for the district of Prenzlauer Berg again.
Face lift Pfefferberg
So the Pfefferberg got a serious face lift and new tendants that wanted to change the Pfefferberg into the vibrant place it once was. If you walk past the Pfefferberg now, you will probably see a lot of backpacks, because there is a hostel, and party people from the night club at Haus 13 and Club Bassy. But you will also see a lot of artists and designers. The famous Danish artist Olafur Elliason has his studio here. At the different ‘Hauser’ (houses) you can find gallery’s such as Akira Ikeda Gallery Berlin. And museums, such as Architecturforum Aedes as well as the museum fur Architecturzeichnung (architectual drawings).
Beer has returned to the premises of the Pfefferberg as well. Since November you can drink a ‘prefferbrau’ at Pfefferbrau Bergbrauerei&Schenkhalle. Joseph Pfeffer would have been glad to try one of these ‘knackiger’ pils.