Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Mixed News from Germany

German beer sales plummeted to a new record low in the first six months of this year according to the Federal Statistics Office. Sales over the corresponding period last year were down 4.5% - a worrying 230 million litres. Poor weather, supermarket prices and the smoking restrictions are cited as possible reasons; where have we heard this before?

One silver lining is that sales of beer-mix drinks (and the Germans have some disgusting mixtures) fell even further, by 7.4%.

The Germans like to mix their beers with cola, lemonade and even fruit juices. Alt bier with cola is called "diesel". I haven't tried it.


ChrisM said...

That sounds even more disgusting than the popular student drink Diesel (Snakebite and blackcurrant)!!

Cooking Lager said...

Diesel is nice, but then you'd expect me to say that. Not as nice as Radler, though

Barry M said...

Perhaps saying that "Germans like to mix..." is a bit of a generalisation. Despite the disturbing trend for so many breweries now pre-mixing stuff like that, I only know one person who drinks Diesel, and another person who orders Alster, a beer mixed with fanta. Oh, the same person sometimes orders a BMW (Bier mit Wasser). Having said that, most bar and restaurant menus offer the options. I suppose I mix in an older age bracket, so I've no idea what the teenagers are drinking.

Radler is very popular though during BBQ season, and in a place like Münster, is appropriate with all the bikes! Like shandy, it is seriously underrated :oP

I love the regional names for these kind of mixes :)

Tandleman said...

Barry I could have said "more than most" or something like that I suppose.

I kind of forgive radler.

TIW said...

I've been drunk on radler.

There, I've said it.

Laurent Mousson said...

Well, I guess such beer-based père-mixed drinks take a rather ironic twist when considered in the light of the Reinheitsgebot, the offending brewers most certainly po-pooing foreign beers using fruit or spices, as "not being beer", but not batting an eyelid when it comes to mix the finished beer with soft drinks. Oh well.

PS : I thought Diesel was Pils and Cola ? Or have Diebels just extended it to their altbier ?

Paul Bailey said...

Bad news from the Fatherland, but I saw precious little signs of moderation on my recent trip to Munich!

What I did notice though was the huge disparity between the prices of bottled beer in the supermarkets and what you have to pay in pubs and bars. If my memory serves me right I'm sure you could pick up a crate of 20x0.5litre bottles of Oettinger for around six Euro's! Netto were offering crates of their "own label" beers for a similar price.

The real losers in all this though will be the small family brewers, especially those that only supply a handful of outlets. Just looking back through Graham Lees's 1993 Guide to Munich & Bavaria and comparing it with Steve Thomas's 2006 guide, shows just how many breweries have closed. Graham makes the point in his guide that between publication and when he first went to live in Munich in 1981, 125 Bavarian breweries had closed. This process unfortunately seems to be accelerating, mirroring what happened in Britain during the 1960's.

Barry M said...

Laurent, around here and in the Ruhrgebiet, Diesel is also Altbier and Cola. Also heard it called Krefelder, which makes me wonder what people think of the folk from Krefeld! :)

Paul, the average crate seems to be around 12 euro, but it does look like more people are going for the Oettinger-type stuff lately. I have a couple of bottles of their Dunkel down in the cellar, just to see :)

Tandleman said...

Germany, beer wise, is sleepwalking to oblivion.

Paul Bailey said...

BarryM,thanks for the correction, I wasn't paying that much attention at the time. 12 Euros though, still works out at a little over 50p a bottle; less than a tihrd of the price you'd have to pay in a British supermarket!

Tandleman, it's been said many times in the past that the Germans need some sort of organisation to look after the interests of beer drinkers. The type of concentration that took place here in the brewing industry during the 60's and 70's seems to be occuring over there. Hopefully German beer consumers will wake up to this fact before it is too late.

Barry M said...

No worries. The likes of Koelsh, for example, ranges from 48c to 68c per bottle (and you can taste the difference! :D). But yeah, bloody cheap compared to the UK or Ireland. I still feel like a kid in a candy store when I go beer shopping, buying by the crate-load :D