Thursday, 4 March 2010


Rothaus Pils is a damn good beer. Cave Direct are now importing it to the UK, which gives me an excuse to post this video.

Marketing people often describe things as "cult". Usually this is a desperate attempt to make them appear desirable in cases where the ad budget is not enough for the usual bludgeoning of the consumer. It just devalues the word.

In Baden-Württemberg, Rothaus is a genuine cult that needs no promotion. What other beer inspires this sort of devotion?

The brewery is owned by the State and there are no plans to privatise it. Perhaps that is just as well, because I do not have any difficulty believing that people in the Black Forest would literally take up arms to prevent Heineken or Carlsberg getting their hands on it.


  1. Hehehe...

    My wife is from Baden-Württemberg, and every time there's a a big birthday party (always a big one for her Dad in August) an uncle brings a couple of those Rothaus Tannenzäpfle minikegs. Not sure I understand exactly why there's such a cult following for it, but it seems to be the real deal.

  2. Why ? Long-term development strategy. Simple as that, which they can afford because they are state-owned.

    Well, it's as state brewery, i.e. it somehow belongs to "the people". They don't do advertising apart from point of sale material and some local sponsoring, and rely on word of mouth to develop a following - do that for forty years and you're bound to become "cult"... if you're still around, that is. And they still are because they have a very strong local distribution : it's just all over the place in BW.

    They have not changed their label design since 1967, at periods it's looked desperately out of date, at others it's seen as delightfully "vintage" and pop art-like.
    Oh, and the beer itself is not bad at all, the pils is crisp and flowery, a bit round, the Hefeweizen does just what it's supposed to do in the fizz/banana/cloves departments, and they even managed to come up recently with a pretty drinkable alcohol-free Hefeweizen.

    Add to that a solid flair for giving the media stories they will gladly repeat, for example stories on how German troops in Afghanistan have has Tannen Zäpfle delivered there, or how they reportedly can't cope with demand despite doing no advertising - cue subtitle "because we concentrate on brewing good beer" -... and there you are : "cult" !

    All in all, it's not too unlike a strategy to Samuel Smiths' in the UK, except they do speak to the media... ;o)

  3. Laurent
    how come German troops get beer while Brits have to wait until they are on an RAF plane home before they can have a drop?

  4. The German government regards beer as food, whereas ours thinks of it as sin in a bottle.

  5. Cask and Kitchen near Victoria Station in London now has the Pils and the Hefe on draught (and it's an elaborate font, too!).