Record heat waves are making for record summers worldwide. As the mercury rises, people are looking for ways to cool down. In Japan and Germany, that means that beer is selling at a crazy pace.
Germans are no strangers to beer and their breweries are turning out plenty of suds to keep drinkers cool during a blistering summer. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of bottles to house said beer. (And, cans are a rarity in Germany.) Niklas Other, editor of a German brewing industry magazine, told Express, “This issue is causing an industry-wide drama.”
In Germany, beer bottles work on a deposit system whereby bottles are carry an eight to fifteen cent deposit and are reused about 36 times each. There are roughly two billion of these bottles circulating around 82.6 million person nation according to industry experts.
However, there are a couple problems. First of all, when it gets really hot out, most people do not want to deal with the extra labor of hauling empties back to the store. Secondly, the Germans are very particular about their beer; similar to wine, different styles of beer require different styles of bottles.
So, breweries are urging loyal customers to return their bottles ASAP. Moritz Fiege issued a public appeal via social media. “We need your help,” the brewers posted on Facebook. “Although we regularly buy new empty bottles, they’re becoming scarce in our bottling facility. So before you go on summer holidays, please bring your Moritz Fiege empties back to the shop. First the deposit, then the party!”
In Japan, record temperatures as high as 108ºF are taxing power grids and responsible for dozens of deaths. The weather is also sparking a massive increase in spending on everything from electricity to cold beer. According to Toshihiro Nagahama, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute Inc. (via Bloomberg), every celsius degree above average results in a 320 billion yen ($2.9 billion) rise in consumption.
The increased demand for frosty brews is taking a toll on the beer supply in country. For example, Kirin just announced plans to increase production. The brewer is projecting a 20% jump in low malt volume over last year. Likewise, Suntory stated that during July and August they will amp up production canned chuhai and highballs by some 15%.
The hot weather is good news for the Japanese beer industry which saw beer sales slowly decline for the last six years.
Photo by Instant Vantage [CC2.0]