A company evidently has had a genuine liquidity problem in paying pension benefits.
A German court has ordered that two retired brewery workers each should receive 264 pints, or 150 liters, of free beer a year as part of their pension packages, according to reports in Reuters and Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
In addition, the court ruled the workers should be compensated with 450 liters of beer due them since they filed their lawsuit three years ago.
Judge Wolfgang Leinemann of the Labour Court in Erfurt announced the ruling against Dortmunder Actien-Brauerei AG, Dortmund, makers of DAB beer.
"Every beer that goes unconsumed is, of course, a serious loss," Judge Leinemann said.
Kronen Privabrauerei Dortmund GmBH & Co., a brewing company in Dortmund, had promised all its workers and retirees 240 liters of free beer a year. But after DAB bought the brewery in 1996, the benefit was discontinued.
"For 31/2 years we've been fighting for our foam," said Friedman Boss, one of the plaintiffs, after the ruling was announced. "That's been a long dry spell, I can tell you. I, for one, have worked up quite a thirst and plan to make up for lost time."
Representatives of DAB, which is a 73.2% owned unit of Binding-Brauerei AG in Frankfurt, couldn't be reached.
German sources said it is not unusual for German brewery workers and pensioned employees to be given benefits-in-kind such as free beer as part of their overall compensation packages.