The saviors of Oktoberfest?
The saviors of Oktoberfest?

German Beer Culture Dying; Will the United States Save It?

The big food story going around the Internet right now is Slate's piece on the decline in Germany's beer culture. It's a relatively well-written piece, with a lot of history and anecdotes thrown in, but something nagged throughout--hadn't I read this before?

Indeed, I had--kind of.

Back in 2005, the German magazine Der Spiegel ran a piece on the same phenomenon, starting off with the exact intro that Slate used: an explanation of the term brauereisterben, the German phrase used to describe the death of the beer industry. It was coined during the mid-1990s, a fact both Slate and Der Spiegel pointed out.

But that's where the articles take different roads: Der Spiegel (which knows a little bit about Germany, given it covers the country) put the blame on a declining population and the younger set's gravitational pull toward other alcoholic drinks (the two articles even mentioned the same alcoholic drink, Bacardi Rigo, as a beverage on the rise), while Slate author Christian DeBenedetti claims its the German beer itself that has suffered a decline in quality, and that American brew-meisters and their microbrewery styles will save German beer culture from itself.

Or maybe I'm just biased on the issue, being I'm a bourbon man-child and all..


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