This sponsored column is written by Nick Anderson, beermonger at Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway). Sign up for Nick’s email newsletter and also receive exclusive discounts and offers.
The hottest beers of the summer are… cheap? And… German?
(A quick note: We’ll pick up the discussion of lactose in beer in the next column — I’m waiting on a couple more responses to give a wider view of how breweries approach using it and labelling it.)
Despite the nature of my job and how long I’ve been doing it (I need no reminders, thank you), I don’t consider myself any kind of “influencer.”
I have breweries and styles I’ll lean into, of course, but more than anything I try to approach my job in a reactive manner. I’m not here to tell our clients at Arrowine what to like; I’m here to play off of what they do like and introduce new things that are exceptional in quality, or value or, best case scenario, both.
So no, you won’t find me on Instagram in selfie after selfie with every can/bottle I drink in the foreground while I attempt a friendly smile in the background. I do notice patterns and trends, though, and I’ll say this: Y’all, something’s happening with Germany.
It started a couple months back with the arrival of .5L cans of Veltins Pilsner. It was an instant hit not only because it’s just damn good, but because came in at $8/4-pack. It’s become a staple in my fridge.
Then, just before Memorial Day, Wolters Pilsner arrived in the same format but at $5/4-pack, followed by Tucher’s Helles Hefeweizen, which delivers clean, easy, classic German Wheat Ale goodness at only $7/4-pack. And there are more on the way.
So what gives? The origins of this wave hitting our shores now can be found back in 1976, the year per capita beer consumption peaked in Germany, dropping one-third in the decades since. Competition for those remaining beer drinkers has driven a price war that has seen German retail beer prices drop to levels nearly half what they were back in the early 90s (adjusted for inflation).
Rather than a temporary method of boosting sales, those low-margin prices have become the new norm. With no more margin to lose and home-market sales continuing to stagnate, German breweries have turned their eyes back to the States, where Mexican beers dominate import sales (accounting for about 70 percent of the American import market) but where “macro” is down, and “craft” continues to grow, albeit slower over the past couple years than the previous 10-15. It’s a perfect moment for these beers, with many transitioning to more Lager-centric drinking preferences and a (for now) quiet but growing exasperation with $20 4-packs and the FOMO mentality.
We’re not in a full-on paradigm shift just yet: I still tell people often that anyone who can get even a half-decent IPA into 16oz 4-packs that retail at $13.99 is going to sell them with little problem. But more people just want to have a couple good beers, maybe even with friends, without having to all-but get them to sign a waiver and without breaking their banks, and these Germans are filling that void.
Upcoming Arrowine Events:
Friday, July 19, 5-7 p.m.: Sean Michaels from The Bruery
Saturday, July 20, 1-4 p.m.: Three Notch’d with Dave Keuhner
Friday, August 30, 5-7 p.m.: Stephanie Boles with Old Ox Brewing
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Please join us on Saturday, June 3, from 2 to 4 pm for the Glencarlyn Home Tour in Arlington’s historic Glencarlyn neighborhood. Among the featured homes will be a sparkling new home by A&N Builders at 5604-4th St. South. The inviting front porch opens to a light-filled space featuring high ceiling, wood floors, gas fireplace, Pella windows, Shrock cabinets, Quartz countertop, and JennAir appliances. Doors from the family room open to a large covered porch with a few steps to the level, landscaped rear yard. Upstairs, there are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, laundry room, and linen storage. The big lower level has a rec room, gym space, and a fifth bedroom and bathroom plus even more storage. After leaving the home, stroll to the Ball-Sellers home, the oldest residence in Arlington, the community gardens at the library, Carlin Hall, and the 94 acre Glencarlyn Park. A lovely way to while away a late spring afternoon.
Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved
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4th of July Celebration & Fireworks
Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.
Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,