Is This A Sign Of The End Of The World?
Uh, oh, life as we know it seems to be ending:
Berlin, July 31: In the days when Germany was Europe’s leading beer-drinking nation each village had its own brewery. Not any longer. Many of the breweries have long since closed or been sold to foreign companies.
Once the world’s leader in beer consumption, Germany has now been overtaken by the Czechs and the Irish.
Even in Berlin, where beer is available round the clock, there has been a marked decline in sales over the past 25 years. At the start of the last century, Berliners consumed on average 209 litres of beer annually. Now it is down to 115 litres.
Whatever happened to the nation’s love of beer? For Germans, downing a beer or two was almost a patriotic duty; more so when the alcohol imbibed was a product of the town’s local brewery.
“We’ve become a nation of coffee drinkers, observes a Berlin brewer caustically. For centuries local breweries have formed the backbone of this most German of industries. But now, the number of thriving family-owned breweries grows smaller.
Earlier this year Berlin was shocked when it was announced that one of the city’s best-known breweries, Berliner-Kindl, would close early 2006, with the loss of 160 jobs.
It sounds like the beer industry is facing a latte of problems in Germany these days. And what can we make of these changes?
- Germans drink less beer, coffee catches on (and Starbucks is probably constructing a store on each corner there right now).
- Americans over the past 10 years have become addicted to the long-time European custom of drinking bottled water.
- Americans who used to think Boones Farm Apple Wine was gourmet, have now become experts in wine. The great chain Trader Joe’s has partly built its business on offering fine wines from all over the world at reasonable prices.
Tastes are changing. This story was sent to us by India’s Swaraaj Chauhan. Indian food is now becoming increasingly popular in California and elsewhere in the U.S. At the same time, The McDonald’s Revolution has spread U.S. fast food (and increased waistlines) all across the globe.
But to live to see the day when German beer is on the decline? That could never happen. That’d be the day Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California.