Juicy bundles of money

In the mid-1990s, branded products from the West were in great demand and extremely scarce in Russia and other Eastern European countries - including fruit juice from Rauch. Extraordinary deals beckoned. Many of those who had money therefore tried their hand at being importers.

"It was mainly Russians who visited us in Rankweil in that period. In the meeting they would put a thick bundle of German marks on the table and want to order. Nobody trusted the Eastern banks," recalls Heinz Dei-Michei, who was responsible for exports at the time. "Trudi Ludescher would take the money, sometimes up to DM 100,000, drive to our bank and have the bills checked for authenticity. If everything was in order, the contract was signed - two days later Russian, often rickety, trucks would pick up the valuable juices in Rankweil.

When doing business with Eastern Europe in the 1990s, cash was the only thing that counted - the German mark was the "dollar of Europe".