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.
That’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. I 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.
Sorry 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.
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?