The Germans brew excellent beer, no one in their right mind would say the opposite. However, the Germans aren’t very good at buying the stuff often rejecting prize brews and top-end produce for the brand with the most colourful, often-repeated TV advert.
Big breweries in Germany earn big money.
Krombacher, Veltins, Warsteiner and Bitburger account for a massive amount of total beer sales in Germany and sponsor literally every sporting event, a large amount of TV shows and a great deal more on top.
Krombacher pride themselves on being Germany’s most bought beer whilst Bitburger are happy to permanently mention the claim that their beer is the most-tapped in Germany. But are these claims actually good advertising? Aldi and Lidl are the biggest supermarket chains in Germany and, although their produce isn’t bad, it isn’t internationally known as being all that good.
Of course, the brewers rely on the holy Reinheitsgebot whereby only a set amount of ingredients are allowed to be used in the brewing phase. This is definitely a good thing but you can still make a bland corned-beef sandwich out of fillet steak. The Reinheitsgebot cannot and should not be used as a definition of quality but the standard and utilisation of ingredients alone.
Furthermore, German breweries produce mixed-beer drinks whereby they combine their brews with sparkling, flavoured drinks. It's all good and well brewing according to the Reinheitsgebot but if you mix your final product with additive-rich, sugary-rubbish, what's the point?
There are countless German breweries all over the country. In North-Rhine Westphalia, the state in which I live, there are hundreds of breweries however nearly every supermarket offers only the same produce: Veltins, Krombacher, Bitburger and Warsteiner. You’ll be lucky to find anything else and, if you spot something foreign, you should probably buy a lottery ticket that day as well.
By now, you’ve probably realised that this is a bit of a private rant. I’m permanatly belittled for my love of interesting, non main-stream beer. When people see a bottle of something non-German, non-fizzy and non-yellow in my fridge, I’m likely to be hit with a bombarding of Reinheitsgebot-ridden sentences plus an outright rejection to drink what I have on offer.
But it isn’t their faults. Germans are brought up to buy German. They’re permanently being persuaded on TV, on the radio and in newspapers that only German produce is worth buying. Thank god, most of them take this information with a pinch of salt but when it comes to beer: Germans buy German and very rarely, if at all, anything foreign. What’s worse is that they buy what they are told is the best by over-patriotic and unrealistic TV advertising.
Line Veltins, Krombacher and Bitburger next to eachother. They all taste the same, they’re boring beers that are easy to drink. If you’re after something with a bit more taste, you have to go to a specialist drinks shop. The other stuff is better, but not advertised. Why not? Because they spend their money on beer, not on pretty adverts.
Now go out and buy a case of something decent.