You Can Celebrate Oktoberfest with Vladimir Putin's Favorite German Beer
Germany’s love of beer is legend. The country has around 1,300 breweries, over 5,000 brands, and 40 varieties, so it takes a lot to stand out in the competitive beer industry. But the Radeberger Gruppe is one of Germany’s market leaders, with a 13 percent market share and brews over 10.5 million hectoliters of beer from 14 of its breweries annually. Their brands are sold in over 70 countries, including the Philippines.
Just for comparison, Budweiser, the world’s number two brand, produces about 50 million hectoliters. But the world number one is called Snow Beer, which produces about wtice that amount and is a brand unknown to much of the rest of the world outside China. But many will argue that quality comes first before, quantity and this also applies to beer brewing.
The celebration of Oktoberfest dates back over 210 years ago, when the Bavarian Crown Prince Louis, later King Louis I of Bavaria, married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen on October 12th, 1810. The royals invited the citizens of Munich to attend the festivities, which was held on public fields close to the city gates. These fields were named Theresienwiese or “Therese’s fields,” in honor of the crown princess. The succeeding years included horse racing and festivities as the decision to repeat the festivities gave rise to the tradition of the annual Oktoberfest, which now begins in late September and lasts until early October. Beer consumption is an important part of the modern festival, and more than one million gallons of beer (over 37,000 hectoliters) are consumed each Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest played a huge part in making German beer known to Europe and the rest of the world. One big fan of the brew is Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the documentary film “Putin,” one of the most powerful men in the world said the outgoing Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel would regularly send him a few bottles of the Saxony-brewed pilsner.
“From time to time, Angela sends me a few bottles of Radeberger beer,” according to Putin, referring to the German chancellor by her first name. Before he became Russia’s charismatic leader, he served as a KGB agent.
“We regularly went to the small town of Radeberg, and there was one of the best breweries in East Germany,” Putin said. This was the time when he and his family spent many years in Eastern Germany in the 1980s before the fall of the Berlin Wall according to the book From the First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin.”
This probably gave rise to the popular Putin quote about discussing important issues over beer.
Even in modern-day Berlin, whenever Germany hosts foreign dignitaries for state events, Radeberger Pilsner is the beer the German Chancellor raises to toast in special occasions. This has been a tradition for over a century and has been shared by princes and kings alike. Prince Otto von Bismarck named it the official “Chancellor’s Brew” in 1888. King Frederick Augustus of Saxony followed suit by naming it the official beverage of preference for his court. And now Radeberger Pilsner remains one of the top leading German breweries and is considered an “Ambassador of German Beer Culture” the world over.
But what exactly makes Radeberger beer so special? The Germans have always been picky about their beer brewing, and the German Purity Law, considered one of the world’s oldest food and beverage regulations, is still in force today to assure their brewers have the highest standards of beermaking. This Reinheitsgebot—literally "purity order"—is a law that limits the ingredients in German beermaking. The law was adopted first in Bavaria in 1516, and, as Germany became unified, the Bavarian law was pushed for adoption on a national basis.
Since 1872, aside from having the best standards in brewing, quality comes with the simplest ingredients: soft, pure water from exclusive artesian well; exquisite hops; and fine malted barley all mixed together using the most advanced innovations of the day in that neverending pursuit for perfection.
Radeberger Pilsner is available in the following supermarkets: Marketplace, All Day, Robinsons, Landmark, Landers and Pioneer Centre Supermarket.