The history of Puls beers dates back to 1846 when Heinrich Ferdinand Puls started with his small brewery in Pernau (now Pärnu), Estonia.
Heinrich Ferdinand Puls (1815-1862) was born in Pärnu as the son of master shoemaker Johann August Puls and Helene Wilhelmine Sengelmann, the daughter of the Kõpu forest warden. H. F. Puls, who started out as a merchant, made his fortune in trading with ironware and leather goods. In 1846, H. F. Puls started a brewery in the city centre of Pärnu.
H. F. Puls died in 1862, leaving his pregnant wife, Anna Henriette, and four daughters as heirs. His only male heir, Heinrich Ferdinand junior (1863-1933) was born already after the death of his father and later (1875) moved on to live in St. Petersburg. He opted for Estonian citizenship with his wife and two children in the summer of 1920. After the death of H. F. Puls, the Pärnu city council appointed the brother of the widow, police commissioner Johann Heinrich Schwarz and merchant Gustav Kreischmann as the guardians of the family – they would be arranging the finances of the family.
According to the property list compiled in January 1863, the Puls family owned, among other things, the supplies of the brewery, in which the brewed Bavarian and double beer, 12,200 litres of malt, 1,064 kg of hops, 4,000 beer bottles, 60 beer baskets, many casks etc, are mentioned.
In 1870, the Puls widow got a permission for establishing another beer cellar at the Merkuri bastion. At that time, the brewery employed 12 people and the revenue of the beer production reached 20,000 roubles a year. The company brewed Bavarian beer, lighter double beer (the wort of the so called Doppelbier or “second beer” was made by the second meshing of the malt), which was sold in bottles. The lighter cannikin beer was sent to pubs in casks.
In 1876, the brewery that had so far been working without power plant was reconstructed into 10 HP steam brewery and the entire equipment was updated. In 1881, the new large residential building was completed together with the malt department. In 1883, the brewery started to make the Erlanger beer for the holidays and the number of employees grew to 16. In January 1885, new type of beer was started, and 8 moths later in August it was ready for the Pärnu Exhibition.
Newspaper Pärnu Postimees writes: “Heinrich Puls: Two nice displays show us which grains are used to make the Bavarian and the Wiini Märtsi beer brewed especially for the exhibition. Good barley, good malt are the main ingredients for making excellent beer, and the changes that malt has to go through before it can be used, is demonstrated to us by a pyramid-shaped display, whereas another display with beautiful bottles is enticing the beer lovers with its brewed beer. One can try the goodness of the beer at the buffet, where a large cask labelled Wiini Märtsi beer beckons the thirsty. We have already tried this beer, as have many others, and if we wanted to say something about its goodness or badness, we are not allowed to do so, because when we look at the wall, we find the following among the thoughts presented there: “May the one who praises me when present, but criticizes while absent, burn in hell.” However, we find that the people have nonetheless made their decision, because we heard people demanding the Wiini Märtsi beer everywhere.”
In the middle of the 1890s, the annual beer production of Puls beer amounted to approximately 300,000 litres. The brewery produced Pilsen, München, Bavarian and table beer. In 1899, the company that had been operating as a guild company, was reorganized into a limited partnership Heinr. Puls, which in addition to the beer started to produce malt coffee and from 1910, also soft drinks.
The First World War that started in 1914 brought along the nationwide prohibition on alcohol sales, the remaining stocks were destroyed. During wartimes the company continued manufacturing malt coffee and soft drinks.
During the first years of the Republic of Estonia, OÜ H. Puls was rented by Gustav Linquist, a businessman who had earned his fortune with smuggling spirits. Permission for launching the brewery was obtained from the government in 1921. Next year, beer warehouses were also opened in Tallinn, Tartu and Viljandi, thanks to which the Puls Pilsen, Märzen and München beers were known also beyond its home town.
But the expenses grew faster than income and in 1923 the activities of OÜ H. Puls stopped. The last pre-war owner of the company, Ernst Schwarz, the maternal cousin of H.F. Puls junior decided to reorganise the company. In the summer of 1924 he got a permission to reopen the soft drinks factory and in 1925 the brewery started its operations again, now under the name of Ernst Schwarz’s Brewery, Soft Drink and Coffee Industry. However, in the conditions of fierce competition, the company was forced to surrender to the large-scale producers and the brew of 28 February 1927 at the factory at Kuninga street in the city centre was to be the last. For a few years, the company continued with the production of soft drinks and until nationalisation, the company functioned as a fully commercial organisation, selling farming equipment, electrical appliances and household goods.
H.F PULS TODAY
In 2006, Pärnu Brewery re-introduced the H.F.Puls trademark and restored the production of premium beer. New types of beer were added and the Puls trademark quickly gained popularity.
In 2008 the owner of Viru Brewery, Harboes Bryggeri AS, acquired the rights for Puls trademark and all the accompanying values. Brewing of Puls beers was moved to Haljala, into a brewery with modern brewing technology. It became possible to expand and diversify the product portfolio, in the same year non-alcoholic beers and ciders were added into the product range. In the following years, the first Puls beers in cans were produced.
Today, Puls beers are sold in many countries in the world. They are produced by Harboe breweries, with traditions from the past and superior quality of the present.