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Culture

Quenching The World's Beer Thirst

Germans love their beer. And they want the rest of the world to love it, too. The German Brewers' Association is starting a new initiative to boost overseas sales.

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Germany's brewers want more people worldwide saying "Prost" with their beer.

Everyone knows that Germany makes the best beer, just like France produces the best wine and Italy the best pasta. But, according to the German Brewers' Association DBB, not enough of it is being sold abroad.

"German beer has the best reputation, but still gets sold too seldomly," says DBB president Richard Weber. "We have to change this."

Of the 108 million hectoliters sold last year (19,008 pints), only 10.8 hectoliters, or 10 percent, were exported. And Weber says there's definitely room for growth. The DBB has thus kicked off a new campaign to make German beer just as popular internationally as French wine or Italian pasta.

Giving a helping hand

The concept behind the initiative involves helping mainly small and medium-sized breweries, says spokesman Erich Dederichs.

"A large company like Beck's has its own distribution system in the United States, for example," Dederichs told DW-WORLD. "It doesn't need any additional help."

Smaller producers, on the other hand, just don't have the means to enter into foreign markets. "But there are opportunities for them and we want to support them," he says.

DBB will provide guidance and information. It also wants to help German breweries improve sales abroad through international trade fairs, exhibits and other sales-driven initiatives.

Dederichs says the association sees the greatest potential in the Asian market. But Italy, Spain and the U.S. are also core areas of interest.

Letting the world know

Internationally, many people are only familiar with the German Pilsener. But, says Weber, there are many other styles of beer, including top conditioned warm-fermented ales, wheat beer or smoked beer. Each is suited to a different occasion, and each style has its own distinctive character.

This is the message the DBB wants to get out in order to increase the profile - and sales - of Germany's 1,300 breweries.

Weber stresses that many brewers have focused too strongly only on the domestic market - and neglected their international opportunities.

He says Germany's per-person consumption of some 120 liters per year is hardly going to increase further. The older generation is making up a continuously larger part of the population, and it just doesn't drink as much as the younger generation does. So new consumers need to be found.