The Reason Germany Is Running Out of Beer Bottles Right Now

BERLIN, GERMANY - JANUARY 19: Some varieties of beer are shown on January 19, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
 Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images

There’s almost nothing better than sipping on an ice cold beer during the hot days of summer. But in beer-loving Germany, a heat wave has helped cause a big problem for the industry: there’s a shortage of beer bottles.

The higher temperatures mean more people are drinking beer, and because of that, more customers are using beer bottles and not returning them fast enough, hence the shortage, according to The Telegraph. Wait, returning beer bottles? If you’re wondering why that’s part of the issue, let us explain a little about drinking beer in Germany.

 

 

Germany has a law called “Einwegpfand,” or a “single-use deposit law,” which means that people pay a deposit when they buy beer, and then they get that deposit back when they return their bottles, according to NPR. Those bottles get reused a number of time by the breweries in environmentally-conscious Germany, and round and round it goes.

“It would be good if consumers brought their empties back to stores quickly,” German Brewers Association spokesman Marc-Oliver Huhnholz told the Associated Press.

Adding to the problem is that bottles are usually stocked up by breweries a year in advance, so it’s been tougher to get extra bottles this summer, according to Fortune.

Recently, the Moritz Fiege brewery wrote a message on Facebook regarding the shortage: “Great weather + great beer = serious thirst. The catch: although we regularly buy new bottles, we’re running out. So before you go on your summer holiday, please be sure to return your Moritz Fiege empties. … Make your motto: first the empties, then the holiday!”

Summer is winding down, so that should help the demand for bottles in Germany.

If you’d like to have a taste of German beer this summer and heading into Labor Day, here are some options: