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Bayernbiere Bought and Drunk

Discussion in 'Germany' started by boddhitree, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    That's not what he said. What he said is that people are using cheap short cuts and market it as innovative (and get away with it too) even though their product is neither innovative nor good beer. And, I agree with him, that sucks.
     
    herrburgess and boddhitree like this.
  2. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Well, of course German brewers want to make some paper too. However, the inherent german fear of risk-taking, combined with a pretty good sense of what's realistically possible makes Germans look timid. We're not like you guys, we are careful long term planners and we'll much rather just keep what we have over running after dreams and getting burnt up. For better or worse, this kind of thinking just isn't in our DNA.

    German brewers an the level I recognize are doing just fine. That they sell a few billion liters less of "Fernsehbier" is really not a problem on any scale that should concern us at BA :)
     
    mjtierney2 likes this.
  3. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Are you running your own business including a commercial brewery, the Getränkemarkt that goes with it and the brewpub that goes with it ? Do you have 5 employees and a 500000 EUR bank loan to pay off ? Do you have 20000 EUR on the line with every sud and you can dump it out and start over if you skrew up every time you brew ? Plank does. So does Goss and Prösselbräu too. I've never tried it myself but I'm certain it is a 24/7 job and I admire (and support with my wallet) everyone brave enough to do it to supply me with yummy beer. But I can also understand young people who would rather opt for a life and a cushy office job. This is really a problem that is everywhere in the crafts. In 2013 you will be hard pressed to still find a butcher or a baker as well who runs his own business and isn't just part of some industrial chain. It's very sad really.


    No, no investors can be found because investors want fast turn around. You can't get that with a local brewery. Not realistically. So the small breweries get bought up by medium breweries (like Bischhofshof, Naabecker or Schneider) and that's it then. Also, you shouldn't get fixated on the 50 Grand number I dropped. In reality I have no clue what sums are involved there, I really just guessed. Such financial details are never published.
     
  4. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    No, it's not. This stuff has been around for decades, the only novelty is that now they aren't mixed at the bar, they already come pre-mixed from the brewery. But all this stuff has been around since the 70s and possibly longer but that's how far back my beer related memory stretches back.
     
  5. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I'm sorry, but that's a completely specious argument. First, why do you need 5 employees, a Getränkemart? A brewpub? Those are business ventures completely separate from brewery. 2nd, the amount of debt incurred previously, like 1/2 a million €, is a legacy of business with poor cash flow. These are all excuses. How does Andreas Siefert of Pax Bräu do it as a one-man show? I would love to hear how he came up with his business plan. Somehow he's found equipment, lined up sales outlets locally, gotten word of mouth marketing, uses internet distribution, and doesn't seem to be doing too badly. It's not easy. And if you grew up as the son of the brewer and have no passion for the business, then yes, you should sell out to either someone who does or close shop.

    Also, how have all the micro- and even nano-breweries started up in the USA, Denmark, Holland, UK? I find it hard to believe small scale business plans in beer can't be financially successful in Germany if they've proven otherwise around the world.

    I give my business to one of the few independent bakers in my neighborhood, who also happens to make a product 100% better in quality than the chain bakers that have populated Germany. They make great.... everything... and they'll even make brownies, etc on request for a decent price. The tiny place is packed every time I enter, so with passion for product, one can do it.

    They are stupid to invest if they want a quick turnaround, but look, there are ways to find the right investors if the owner/community is serious about the product.

    Your reaction makes me laugh in that it shows one of the biggest cultural differences between Germany and the US. Germans, IMO, tend to look for all the negatives to why they shouldn't do something "Das geht gar net." (That won't work at all), focusing on reasons to fail and even putting up imaginary obstacles. Americans tend to be "Can do." In other words, "Don't tell me how you can't do it, tell me how you CAN do it." This requires thinking outside the box, being willing, even enjoying, to break conventions or trying riskier options. I hear this attitude everyday from my business students, all day, and I always wish I could charge them as a business consultant fees for the ideas we come with when I repeat the above platitude. The main problem with what I'm proposing is that it requires a passion and commitment to the product, which is why Pax Bräu... oh never mind.
     
  6. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    I understand your frustration. Sometimes I even share it. But I don't know how to reply to the above.
     
  7. Agree that one of Americans' strengths is this willingness to take huge risks, even if it means failing spectacularly. My problem is with the current euphoria around U.S. craft brewing such that anything that is new is automatically held up as (or intentionally marketed as...is there a difference?) "innovative" and good instead of what a large number of these beers truly are: namely spectacular failures.

    Bodd, you speak at length about Brauereisterben in Germany; are you aware that a wave of the same is going to take place in the U.S.? These young guys who started places are at best working sometimes 72 hours straight (e.g. COAST here in SC) to fill demand while also having hit the age where they are beginning to start families...and at worst woefully under-capitalized. I know any number of brewers who have either sold out or simply quit brewing because while the money was good enough to get them through as a single guy in his 20s, it's nowhere close to enough to support a wife and kids.

    That, and many people are waking up to the fact that more is not always better and that a good percentage of those new beers with their cartoon character labels are actually all hype and no substance.
     
  8. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    Yes, you are right. Unfortunately, this does not apply to breweries and the beer business in Germany. Let me try to elaborate without getting too winded.

    You may know this about the retail side of beer, but it's almost always a pay to play thing. Free beer, percentage or price off for period of time, simple listing grants (called a WKZ - Werbekostenzuschuß), the fantasy knows no boundaries. There is NEVER a guarantee for sales. You want to sell in my chain, bring cash with you. EURO 50 per store and per SKU, we have 250 stores in area XYZ, please send a check for EURO 25,000 to us first. That's for the first year, we meet next year to discuss what we will do next year. This is normal. How does that feel for long-term security?

    Gastronomy is no different and even more of a roller-coaster ride. It's quite typical for the gastronomy to ask for loans and/or grants, estimated 90% of gastronomy has a contract with a brewery. The biggest loan I ever had approved was for EURO 250K for a large concept with was supposed to sell 500 HL of beer per year (a typical set up involves -ballpark- 100 HL of beer and 5 year loans of 15-25K). On top of that, of course, was free beer, glassware, shirts, etc in small value of 5K, but hell, who's counting? Oh, and we'll need you to pay for the draft installation, signage outside and the menus - 15K. This goes all the way to the small Kneipe on the corner and the Imbißbude selling bottles and wants money for _____________. Needless to say, investing today in a concept that might work, and people who might actually pay back their loans, is some of the highest risk business you will ever find. Very un-German. This also explain why many breweries own certain buildings as lessor or actually have decided to be the lessee.

    Now, this wouldn't be so bad if these places ACTUALLY sold as much beer as their contracts say they will, and the discussion comes full circle. The financing is all calculated to expect certain sales volume, and due to the constant decline in beer sales over the last 30+ years, the ROI just isn't there. The lack of regulation (in Germany??! No regulation?? *headspin*) in the industry and the finance models which have been formed by lack of regulation, combined with the lower beer consumption is killing the industry, simply put. This is not only the Fernsehbiere, but also your beloved regional breweries.

    Sorry for the discourse, but this is important information when trying to understand some of the biggest issues facing the German brewers today and in the past.
     
    drtth, boddhitree and JackHorzempa like this.
  9. I'm trying to get my head around how the lack of regulation is truly affecting the regional breweries. Are you implying that their inability to get their product into larger markets as a result of the finance models is hurting them? In the larger chains such as Real, I see a larger local presence beside the big boys. Moreover, it's pretty much exclusively Bamberg-area beers around Bamberg, Nuremberg-area beers around Nuremberg, etc. etc.

    How is this managed in light of what you say about the chains demanding region-wide contracts? Is it simply because they consider these to be smaller separate regions when compared to, say, FFM? If so, then isn't that a further argument for taking a more regional approach to German brewing by reviving local specialties rather than taking the approach of getting existing regional specialties marketed and distributed state- or nationwide?
     
  10. In light of what Einhorn brought up, perhaps owning your own Getränkemarkt and/or brewpub is necessary for long-term success in Germany given the current finance model?
     
    Stahlsturm likes this.
  11. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    The lack of regulation forces them to play the game of financing I described. There are no guarantees on sales with listings at retail chains, and defaulted loans, tied up cash flow and loss of ROI from local Gastronomy can break their backs. If their only source of income is their own brewpub, of course they are not affected by this.

    Real, and any large chain for that matter, always has local stuff, but the local brewers are not immune from the pay-to-play scenario. They may simply decide that they only want to be in a certain number of stores. This depends also on the distributor (if any) and the logistical reach of any brewery. As you know, no one in Frankfurt drinks beer from Nürnberg, so no need to spend money trying to get into that market.

    Chains generally do not demand region-wide contracts, but if you want to get into X number of stores, you are requested to pay for each store/listing. As far as reviving local specialties go, it works best in the small cell, locally in their own Heimat.
     
  12. Most of the small breweries around Bamberg have Heimdienst. I loved being able to order a crate of beer from tiny places like Hoenig in Tiefenellern and have it delivered to my door each Friday for 12 DM. This indicates to me that Germany -- or Bavaria at least -- doesn't have the types of distribution tiers we have in the U.S. that prevent many smaller setups from getting their product to market inexpensively. Again, why can't this type of model be held up as an example to other regions of Germany instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and starting to brew non-traditional ales at inflated prices? I, for one, think the former model has a MUCH greater chance of long-term success in a place like Germany....

    As to gaining success in the Internet marketplace, it seems you have a very hard time getting the attention of the self-described "beer advocates" with traditional German styles. As you all know, however, I'm doing my very small part to change that ;)
     
  13. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    Not sure when you were getting Heimdienst for DM 12, but those days are over. Some Heimdienst services are still in place, no question, but as with all things, it's a volume business and most of the volume is going to the big-box stores and the discounters like Aldi, Lidl & Penny. Sad but true.

    There are almost no laws in Germany regulating the sale of alcohol. No ABC, no TTB, no 3-tier requirements, etc. but the barriers are still higher there than here due to the "wild west" of finance.
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  14. Prices certainly aren't what they used to be, but when I was back in Bamberg in July I still saw all the old delivery trucks in the streets, just like back in the day. Also, I have never seen regional Franconian beers in the discounters...not even in NORMA, which I believe is based in Nuernberg.
     
  15. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Regardless of distribution model, in Germany, beer customers are simply a matter of demographics: their customers are dieing off and not being replaced by enough younger ones, many of whom see beer as uncool compared to their alternatives being marketed by Red Bull and vodka firms. Even Jägermeister is cooler than beer. Beer is perceived as Pils only and that's Opa's drink. Which I why firmly believe more interesting beer styles will appeal to them, rather than to the older crowd. Herrburgess, you can't compare a tiny section of Franken with the rest of Germany, and 98% of Germans live in the rest of Germany, so you can only expect your slice of beer heaven there, and pray it doesn't die out before you do. Funny, no one delivers Bamberg beer to my door, except when I order it online, so that's a good distribution model, but it's expense shipping, so also not.
     
    einhorn and JackHorzempa like this.
  16. Why not use Franken -- instead of San Diego -- as a model for how to revive German brewing? Because it's not cool enough?
     
  17. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    You did read the part I mentioned about demogrpahics? That's one reason why. But I have no problem replicating Franken in other parts of Germany. It would be great to have those kinds of beer available around Germany, but it still doesn't address the #1 problem: customers are dieing off and not being replaced.
     
  18. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    The bonus with Frankenland & Bamberg is that the beer is ingrained in people's lives in those areas. Everyone knows everybody including the brewer, lots of social events revolve around events sponsored or held by the brewery, etc. This is simply not so in most of Germany. I am sure that in those areas the Jugend is still drinking a lot of beer, but the large city kids want nothing to do with beer, as bodd correctly explains.

    I am not sure of the "how" in getting more interesting styles into the hands of the early drinkers (it is my suspicion that one of the "big guys" would have to come out with a Kirschbier or a Dampfbier to make it cool), but I am pretty sure that reinventing old styles is the tool to do it.

    Let's get back to that DM 12 case of beer...
     
  19. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    What nobody here seems to (want to) understand is the fact that despite our reputation, large areas of Germany are wine country. They even officially label parts of Franken as "Weinfranken" and the other as "Bierfranken". Lower Franconia, the south of Hessen (The Main valley mostly), pretty much all of the Palatinate and the Mosel Valley and of course Baden and Württemberg don't have a beer tradition, they make wine. People there (for the most part) don't drink beer, it's not part of their culture. Distributing any small brewery into such an area is commercial suicide so you can only get Fernsehbier there unless you bring it yourself.

    There's Heimservice here too but that is in an area of maybe 20 miles around their kettle and further out it's just not worth it anymore, despite boddhitree wishing it was otherwise. Considering that gas is like 3 times the price it is in the US and the lack of interest in the inflicted areas, who can blame them ?

    As for demographics, young people seek to get drunk cheaply, they don't care what they drink so for the most part they buy a 5 EUR bottle of Vodka at Norma and mix it with a 50 cents 1.5 Liter bottle of some cheap energy drink knockoff. Do you really think you can reach people like that with any kind of brewing invention ? They'd drink battery acid if it'd make them drunk faster and cheaper...
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  20. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    That was my point EXACTLY. If you don't run your own Getränkemarkt and brewpub and thus have at least a few outlets you control you are completely at the mercy of big supermarket chains who then will happily ruin you and your 6th generation family brewery for their profit. I've seen it before...
     
  21. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    But that is simply not true. How often will we have this discussion ?
     
  22. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    That may have to do with the fact that you live over 200 km (400 km round trip) away from Bamberg. I'm sure they'd deliver to you as well if you'd reimburse them for 4 to 6 hours on the motorway and the gas to go with it. Plus a 19 % sales tax on everything on course.
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  23. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    I don't know enough about the "behind the scenes" in the US to really compare but what you call "wild west" is considered as highly regulated here. It's not done so by any federal or state law, true but tradition (and that system has been in place for centuries) can be just as regulating and is probably harder to break than any law.
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  24. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Just like slavishly adhering to the RHG.
     
  25. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Exactly my point. That's why I call Bullshit when y'all start waving Franken around as an example. It's only a minor section of Germany, far from most large cities, which has actually been to its benefit, allowing them to continue on with traditional ways unmolested by metropolitan pressures. Unfortunately, modernity creeps everywhere and must be dealt with eventually. It's also why I consider most of Germany to be in a taste-free a variety-free zone, bland and boring beyond belief.
     
  26. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Well, outside Bavaria the RHG has no tradition and I'm perfectly fine with breweries not adhering to it. Most do anyways because apparently it's still a sales point. I haven't checked any bottle I bought for RHG compliance in decades myself and I really don't give a flying f... as long as I like the beer.

    Of course, I don't want my beer to taste like bananas, strawberries or rabbit droppings and I don't feel limited in the slightest. If that makes me somewhat of a lesser human being in your eyes (and I am starting to get that impression) then oh well, I guess I'll just have to bear that cross, won't I ? Though, while I have 3 breweries in walking distance who's beer I can tell apart blindfolded even though it's all the same "boring lager" I don't consider my fate all that cruel after all.

    Sorry if I sound jaded or irritated, I'm just getting kinda tired of the same old argument. And you seriously need to get out of FFM more often. Seriously. Take a beer trip occasionally :)
     
  27. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Get out of FFM (or any other Makro Hellhole for that matter) and try to experience the real thing. Right now you sound like someone who took a weekend in Manhattan and thinks he can judge the whole US of A by that experience. I know it's not easy and I seriously pity you for being stuck there but you still need to do it. Soon.
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  28. Hell, take a free Kaffeefahrt to Prague and ditch the group. Or hop out around Regensburg for a piss and have Stahl agree to pick you up and drive you to some places. ;)

    These past few weeks have seen beer geeks in the U.S. spend more in gas chasing a $20 six-pack of Hopslam than it'd cost you to get a train ticket to Franken/Koeln/Duesseldorf.

    If it's OK with Jack, I think I'll start the "Send Bodd to Franken Fund" first. And I promise to send you only to places with <2 tourists present at any given time.
     
  29. You should check out what Stephan Michel at Mahr's is doing. Almost daily he posts pictures to their Facebook page showing Mahr's being drunk by young people throughout Germany at clubs, etc. At home in Bamberg, Mahr's remains one of the most traditional and local of all the brewery taverns. He's definitely making a conscious push in the very direction many of us are advocating.
     
  30. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    Free Coffee Trip? What is this, never heard of such an adventure.

    (guessing it's sort of slang)
     
  31. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    Do I get a say in this? :p
     
  32. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    No.
     
  33. Tony,

    Don’t get too excited. Scott allegedly started a get Jack to Schlenkerla fund quite some time ago and to the best of my knowledge it is all talk. For all I know, he only has received 20 bucks so far and he probably spent that on his six-pack of Hopslam.:(

    It would be best for you to formulate a Plan A to get yourself to Franken.

    Cheers!

    Jack

    P.S. I liked your utilization of “y’all” in a previous post. I felt like I was back at Wurstfest!:)
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  34. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    Yeah, but Jack ain't a 2 hour train ride from Schlenkerla while Tony is. What in Poor Jack's case doesn't even cover the cab ride to the airport will already get Lucky Tony halfway there. :)
     
  35. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    We just started distributing Weltenburger (brewed @ Bischofshof in Regensburg) this week. Looking forward to a fresh Helles this evening. Prost ihr Säcke!

    [​IMG]
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  36. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    Quick review: the helles was clean but quite uninspiring, the Anno 1050 (5.5% ABV) was nicer and had some caramel notes which seemed reminiscent of a festbier and the helles hefeweizen was truly delightful: major banana esters, silky smooth mouth-feel and great carbonation which had me yearning for more.
     
    boddhitree likes this.
  37. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Savant (420) Germany Mar 21, 2005

    The "flagship beers" of Weltenburger have always been the "Barok Dunkel" and especially the "Asam Bock". If you can get a slurp of the Weihnachtsbier, by all means try that too, it's delicious but their Hell and their Weizen are uneventful in comparison. I didn't even know they made Hell until they started using the Bischhofshof kettle, it never made it that far (and "far" is like not even 20 miles in this case...).
     
    einhorn likes this.
  38. boddhitree

    boddhitree Advocate (630) Germany Apr 13, 2008

    I agree with Stahlsturm. Weltenburger is relatively easy to get, mostly at Mahruns, and I've had most of their lineup. I find the Barok Dunkel (Gold winner of the Beer World Cup in 2008 & 2012) and Asam Bock to be the best of them. Funny that their website is only in German and Portuguese. No English?

    Also, the Anno 1050 is a Märzen, isn't it? That's what the website says, and isn't that your fav style?
     
  39. einhorn

    einhorn Savant (370) California Nov 3, 2005

    The Barock & Asam are also being imported, I'll give them both a go next week. And, as mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised by the hefeweizen which was superb.

    If the website is saying it's a Märzen, that probably fits. It's not necessarily my favorite style, I'm an equal-opportunity drinker.:D
     
  40. steveh

    steveh Advocate (705) Illinois Oct 8, 2003

    We've had a local grocery that carries many different imported foods -- beers included. I've had all the Weltenburger beers available (alas, no Weinachts - want to try that) and reviewed them here at BA. I like them all -- some better than others, but they all have that German character I look for.
     

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