German Brewers Are Asking Beer Drinkers to Return Bottles Before They Run Out
In Germany, when you buy a case of beer, you put a deposit down on your purchase, take the plastic crate filled with bottles of delicious brew and go have yourself a good time. You can drink your beers on a couch, in a dingy basement, in a backyard or on a riverbank while chilling the bottles in cool mountain runoff. You can even sit and stare at the beer without opening a single one. You can do anything you want, but when all is said and drunk and done, you must return the empties.
If you fail to do this, Krampus will come to your home in the dead of night and whisk you away in his burlap sack to the place where ill-natured imbibers go, and from which they never return.
Ok, that’s not true. You just won’t get your deposit back. Oh, and you might also contribute to a nationwide bottle shortage that threatens to cripple its enormously important brewing industry.
According to Fortune, an ongoing heat wave in Germany has been discouraging beer drinkers from returning their bottles, while encouraging them to seek respite from the weather by drinking more beer than usual. These and other factors, such as people leaving for holidays, have contributed to a shortage of reusable bottles.
Since bottles are typically ordered a year in advance—a practice that adheres to German conservation and recycling regulations—brewers are unable to order new pallets to replenish bottle supplies. For smaller brewers especially, this means that they depend solely on their customers to do that right thing by returning their bottles and retrieving their otherwise wasted deposits.
Aside from the beer industry itself, this potentially has implications for label businesses, too. If German breweries are pumping out less beer, they are purchasing fewer bottle labels.
And so, people of Germany, if you’re reading this: Please return your bottles. Your beer-loving nation is depending on you.