Saturday Shopping: Getränkemarkt Edition

Last week, I read this incredibly funny post over at “Oh God, My Wife is German,” which had me giggling for a few days. I was very surprised by his comment that Kästen (cases) of beer were only bought by college students about to get obliterated, and while I have seen more than one case being dragged through a train by lederhosen-clad youths, I thought the time was right for a post on the mighty Getränkemarkt.

Most villages around here have at least one Getränkemarkt, or drinks market. Supermarkets do sell drinks, of course, but the majority of people load up on drinks at one of these markets instead. They have more selection, and I think they’re a bit cheaper. BV and I typically take one trip there a month, but this was our first trip since early July. We picked up quite a lot last time before my parents visited, and then took a week off the sauce after they left, so I think the beer lasted longer than usual this time.

Our local drink market has shorter hours than the normal supermarket, which means they’re only open until 4pm on Saturdays. This week we managed to be up and functioning on time, and loaded up the car to make our run. We left a few partial cases at home, but this is what we took back.

getraenkemarkt1That’s two cases of water, one of juice, and four beer. It’s necessary to bring the cases back full in order to get your full deposit back, hence why we drove to Italy with six bottles of water in the car, and “DON’T THROW THEM AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. They must return to Germany or the Pfand (deposit) gets all messed up!”

Our market is fairly small, and the people who run it are super friendly. When you arrive, you can load up your Kästen on their special flat-bed carts, and bring them in. The ladies will make a note of what kind of cases you have (different cases/bottles have different deposits on them), and if they aren’t busy, they’ll help you unload the cases onto the conveyor belt that takes them into the back. After that, you’re free to shop.

In our little market, you’ll find two and half aisles of beer, half an aisle of “limo” or soft drinks, a huge Coke corner, an aisle of juice and Schorlen (juice mixed with carbonated water), and two aisles of water.  They do also have a selection of wine and liquor, and up at the front of the store you can find some six-packs, and small kegs of different beers. If you’re looking for imports such as Guinness or Czechvar (the ridiculous name given to Czech Budvar/Budweiser outside the C.R.), that’s where you go. If you want cheap, crappy, German beer like Beck’s, you got it. Also, if you’re looking for the flavored “girly” beers like the Veltins, this is your corner. getraenkemarkt7I love the baby kegs. I shudder to think how many of those the average college house party in Wisconsin would go through. I’ve heard if you want an adult-sized keg, they can be ordered but it’s not too common. I’m guessing the Pfand on that would be absolutely ridiculous.

While BV and the lady sorted out some confusion with our cases (she had mixed up our slip with another customer), I admired the postcards.

getraenkemarkt8Sorry about the cigarettes (and the iPhone quality of all of today’s pictures), but if you look to the left, you’ll see a ton of postcards. As I said, this is a small place, and the people are super-friendly, and I love that the customers all send them postcards from their travels. I think it’s lovely. We might have to do that, if we ever go on vacation again.

Finally, it was time to load up the car. Saturday’s trip was a light one, just the necessities.

getraenkemarkt9Two cases of beer (Pils and Keller, if you want to know), one water, and one juice.

BV was very amused by my taking pictures in the shop, and so I told him about the post that I read. He thought the story was pretty funny too, and then we started talking about the difference between buying cases and singles. He said that most people just don’t want to go shopping that much, and also want to be prepared, so they prefer to buy cases. And most of the time when we go to someone’s home, it does look like they have a mini-Getränkemarkt in a cellar or tucked in a closet.

Of course, when I lived in the city (and up four flights of stairs), I never bought a case. Typically it was a few bottles at a time, and he said that usually the only people who buy one or two beers at a time are the old, alcoholic ladies. Thanks, honey.

I left out the part where most of the time I just bought 3€ bottles of wine, because wine paired better with trashy reality TV and microwave popcorn. Heyo!

Have you been to a Getränkemarkt? Do you also think that Becks is the worst German beer?

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26 thoughts on “Saturday Shopping: Getränkemarkt Edition

  1. Love this post! 🙂 Germans definitely love to buy Kästen. My dad’s basement looks like a Getränkemarkt…in my hometown there even is a drive-in Getränkemarkt.

  2. I think you may have insulted nearly all Bremer with your Beck’s comment, but since I’m not a huge beer drinker or fan, I’ll let it slide. 😉 I think I’ve only been inside a Getränkemarkt once or twice, ’cause I have neither the arm strength nor the automobile necessary for the heavy Kästen! Great post.

    • Whoops! Sorry, Bremer! Glad to hear that at least one person won’t take it too personally. 😉 Maybe it’s just hard to go for the Beck’s with all the other delicious Franconian and Bavarian beers that we have floating around here. And if you aren’t a big beer drinker, I would save your arm strength. I daresay your legs will need their energy for one race or another!

  3. I may have told you this already… twenty-five years ago, just after I had left school and started working in Germany, I had some acquaintances who worked for Paulaner Bräu. Each and every one of their employees got 72 litres of beer a month for free (“Haustrunk”).

  4. So you’re saying when I buy 1-2 bottles of Guinness to make beef and Guinness stew I like like an alcoholic old woman? The horror!!

    We usually have 1-2 crates of beer around, but water comes from the tap and on the rare occasions I buy juice it’s in cartons, and at most 2-3 of them (usually for parties).

      • Don’t worry, I most definitely gave BV a scolding for that comment. “And what do the old alcoholic men buy, honey? Or do they just stuff the little bottles of Schnapps in their socks when the cashier isn’t looking?”

        I drink most of my water from the tap too, I just refill one of the big bottles a bunch of times, then trade it out for a new one eventually. I probably drink 4-5 liters of water a day, so if that was allllllll the bottled water from the store, we’d be way more broke than we currently are. 🙂 I thought the Rothaus Pils was okay, but we don’t see that much of it over here. And glad that someone agrees with me on the Becks!

  5. I’ve never actually purchased an entire crate of anything here. I always get just a few bottles. Then again, I usually don’t keep beer at home, because most of my consumption is out in the Altstadt…

  6. No, Karlskrone is the worst German beer. (That’s the one they sell in plastic bottles at Aldi.) I don’t like Beck’s either, but at least it has the dignity to taste like nothing. 🙂

    We do crates sometimes too–I read Oh My God’s post as well, and have to say, I was also struck by his statement that people who buy cases are generally college kids about to get hammered. More often it seems to be the highly respectable, well-organized planners who buy in cases. Cause like you said, who wants to go to the supermarket that often? And if you buy enough cases they will deliver to your house and how awesome is that? Though we just as awesome buy single bottles because we like to get a couple of a lot of different kinds instead of a lot of one kind. Not having a car adds to the fact that transporting single bottles is just easier.

    • Plastic bottles? Seriously? Eeeeeegh. I haven’t seen those here (but I’m not a frequent Aldi shopper, it’s too chaotic for me), but I know that’s common at sports events in the States these days. Like Bud and Miller Light aren’t funky enough in glass bottles!

      Planning makes way more sense to me, although I question how many giant parties people spontaneously end up throwing. I’m still surprised when we get birthday party invites three months in advance! I’m not sure if our shop delivers, but I know some others do, which is totally genius. I hear that they’ll do post-party pickup as well, and give you a refund if you had way more than you needed. Talk about convenience! I always did single bottles of assorted kinds when I lived in the city too, which worked just fine for me. But now it just makes more sense for us to stock up with the car, and I’m not arguing, because the shops are at the bottom of the hill. 🙂

  7. Hmmmm. I always see middle age and older people buying the huge cases of beer, never college kids. Although I don’t live in a place with any students so maybe that’s why.

  8. Hahah, this is an age old discussion with my boyfriend while shopping. “Why do we need TWO cases of beer? We have a quiet week ahead”. “Well, you never know what might happen” – Germans and their planning!

    • Well, at our house it’s usually the other way around… I usually advocate for more cases. What can I say? I like variety! But, we only go once every month-ish, so I don’t think we’re at raging alcoholic stage quite yet. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

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