Georg Latteier had been running a small beverage company in Dietenhofen/Bavaria since 1889, when on an exhibition in 1924, he first discouvered the then so called "Sekt-Bronte". He acquired the licence for producing and distributing this beverage in his region of Germany. "Sekt-Bronte" was a non-alcoholic drink made from mate and several other ingredients. The mate tea leaves came from South America, where the indians had discouvered the value of mate many centuries before.
The production of Bronte went without difficulties. But severe problems arose in botteling. The beverage was very bubbly, it initially was extremely difficult to completely fill the bottles, a problem that could be solved by extensive experiments and much work. At the same time the popularity of the beverage increased.
It was advertised as being "beneficial to health, stimulating, with a rich taste comparable to wine". Also, it was considered to be helpful in curing kidney diseases.
The Latteier company delievered to restaurants in Dietenhofen and in the area about 10 kilometers around Dietenhofen. But there were places, where Bronte did not break into the market. There were many who picked up their favourite beverage by the case, directly from the company.
World War II ended production of Bronte. But after the war, Bronte was still well known, so production could soon be started again.
In 1957 Hans Sauernheimer married the daughter of the Latteier family and entered the company. A fully automated bottling machine and a capping machine were purchased. Through the enormous personal commitment of Mr. and Mrs. Sauernheimer the company became more and more successful. The area of distribution became larger and customers could have deliveries made, even after work and on sundays. Other customers picked the beverage up themselves and took it home to far away towns such as Ulm, Aschaffenburg oder even Hamburg in northern Germany.
In 1994, due to old age, Mr. Sauernheimer sold the licence for the production of Bronte to the Loscher brewery in Münchsteinach/Bavaria.
It continues to be sold under its new Name “Club-Mate”. So, happily, we don’t have to do without it.
Mate is a word from the american indian language meaning 'sqash'. Yet, the tea is not made from pumpkin leaves, as one might expect, but from the leaves of the holly, of which more than 15 different types exist in America. In American Indian medicine the leaves are used as a cure for gout, fever and jaundice.
The dried leaves are ground into powder. In an empty calabash (mate) an infusion is made from the powder and hot water. A straw with a sieve at its end rests on the bottom of the calabash. The mate tea is sucked out of the pumkin through the straw. This drink contains 0,3 % to 1,5 % of caffeine.
The hispanic conquerers, who occupied the land on the shore of the La Plata River from 1536 on, were introduced to mate by the native indians. As early as 1610 the Jesuits began cultivating the mate plant. At the end of the eighteenth century mate tea was distributed as Jesuit tea in North America and Europe. Today the consumption of mate is highest in Argentina. In Europe mate was extremely popular in the 1930s.
The indian peoples of North America call their tea made from holly leaves "Youpin" or "Black drink". The frankonian tribe living on the shores of lake Bibert calls it "Bronte".