Friday, 27 April 2012

What does Paisley have to do with Brecht?

Thanks to the folks over at I became aware of this letter. Supposedly it was written by Bertolt Brecht in 1956, asking the Radeberger Brewery if he could be allocated some of their scarce and difficult-to-obtain beer.

To the
People’s Owned Enterprise
Radeberg Exportbierbrauerei, Radeberg

I am Bavarian and [therefore] used to drinking beer with my meals. Now the beer in the German Democratic Republic is really not good any more at the moment, with the exception of your RADEBERGER PILSNER (EXPORT). Could you make a special case and for a while deliver two crates a month to VLK Drinks, import and speciality beers department, Brunnenstr. 188, Berlin N.4.

With many thanks
Bertolt Brecht

Radeberger was one of the most sought after beers in the DDR, but supplies were limited and even Bertolt Brecht had to write to the brewery asking to be allowed to buy it.

One of the reasons for its scarcity was that most of it went for export to generate foreign currency. You can see the target market in this faintly ridiculous advert:

We've got bottles of chilled Radeberger at Paisley, and you don’t have to be a famous playwright or a member of the Central Committee to get some. You just need three pounds fifty pence in your pocket and a glass.


  1. I can't say that I ever cared for Radeberger. There were far better beers in the DDR, at least in the 1980's.

  2. Nice clip, and wonderful letter. I drank Radeberger — and almost nothing but Radeberger — in Dresden during the summer of '98. Don't think too much of it now, but it had a certain appeal for Ossies, even after the Wende.