A Report from Germany

Here in the U.S. the season of fall beers is getting underway.  Local pubs and microbreweries are only now rolling out their darker, autumnal selections on draft.  Oktoberfest varieties are commonplace this time of year; however, this past weekend marked the conclusion of the traditional German Oktoberfest.

Surprising to most, the majority of the traditional German festival does not begin in October; rather, it begins in mid-September and concludes in early October.  Held annually in Munich’s Theresienwiese “meadow,” this year’s festival ended last Sunday and prompted an interesting article from my favorite weekly newspaper, The Economist.

The article, entitled “Oktobergloom” (October 9th issue), discussed an unfortunate phenomenon: Germans appear to be losing their taste for beer.  According to the article, German beer consumption in 2009 fell below that of neighboring Czech Republic and Austria, as well as Ireland.  Still, the article noted, that year Germans drank almost 110 liters of beer per person – no small amount.

This decline, in Germany of all places, is a discouraging situation.  An aging population with health concerns, wine’s perception as more upscale, and changing tastes of the younger generation are cited as reasons for this decline; apparently even “drinking beer at lunchtime is frowned upon.”  These are disheartening facts indeed.

So what does this mean for beer drinkers here in the states?  Will we be relegated to drink only American domestics, those “mass-produced beers…derided as spülwasser (dishwater)”?  Thankfully, it appears not.  While Germans are in fact drinking less beer, their national production still dwarfs that of the rest of Europe, meaning German beer is here to stay.

I suppose we Americans will have to simply buckle down to help our German friends reverse this decline.  So do your part and drink German beer whenever and wherever possible; next September, I’ll be doing my part in Munich.

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Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm  Comments Off on A Report from Germany  
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