It’s about the beer. All about the beer.
At €15, or about $20.50, per case of 20 bottles, Welde is one of the most expensive beers in Germany, on a par with Becks. Günther Kollmar, owner of the competing Oettinger brewery in central Germany, fairly chokes on his Pilsener at the thought of the high prices that back such slick marketing campaigns.
“This is a sellout of good names,” Kollmar said. “It has nothing to do with the quality of the beer because there is no bad beer in Germany.”
Oettinger is the German brewer best known for a price-cutting strategy aimed at rising volume. A case of its flagship product, a tasty dry Pilsener like Welde’s, costs less than €6 per case. But it brewed about 60 times as much as Welde’s 100,000 hectoliters last year.
Aspiring premium brewers in Germany are currently living out an unintended consequence of the German Purity Law of 1516, Kollmar and other critics of premium beers point out.
That royal decree, designed to protect quality and limit competition with bakers for wheat, specified that only water, barley and hops could go into beer. Though they have been modified in the years since, the restrictions, which apply to all beers sold in Germany, have helped produce delicious brews to this day.
Yup. German beer is awesome, and Oettinger is what the bums in the playground across the street from me drink. But at 6€ a case, it is the best buzz you can get for the change you find in your couch. It sure beats a 12 of Natural Light or PBR. (No offense to PBR fans, of which I am one.)