Not Much to 'Prost' About: Germans Losing Their Taste For Beer

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 3:20 PM EST

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Germany's Federal Statistics Office reported yesterday that beer—"proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," said Benjamin Franklin—is increasingly being replaced in German glasses by the likes of juice and bottled water. (Only six more signs until the Apocalypse, if you're counting.) Beer sales in the Fatherland have fallen to their lowest level since 1993. Between 2006 and 2007, beer consumption declined 2.7 percent, while non-alcoholic drinks rose 18.1 percent over the same period. The German government attributes the change to an aging population combined with an increasingly health-conscious public... in other words, beer drinkers are dying off faster than they can be replaced. (I have some German friends who are bucking the trend, but so far they've been unable to drink their generation out from trouble.) The overall decline in beer consumption comes at a time when beer prices worldwide, including in Germany, are on the rise. This seems not to have offended the Czechs too much, who recently surpassed the Germans as the world's most beer-loving culture. But with Germans abandoning their national drink, they still leave Americans in the dust: the average Deutschlander drinks 30.6 gallons of beer per year versus 21.6 gallons for the average American.