At the risk of appearing like I'm becoming a beer-war correspondent, it looks like that old rivalry between beer towns Cologne and Düsseldorf is heating up. Beer geeks will no doubt be aware of this competitiveness between the people of these two cities on the Rhine when it comes to loyalty to their city's respective beer, Kölsch or Alt. I even see it in my office when the subject of either type of beer is raised, although the majority seem to prefer Alt, based on the Kölsch blind tasting I ran a while back.
The latest salvo was triggered in response to a series of billboards comissioned by Früh that were displayed all over Düsseldorf, basically showing an empty glass of Kölsch with the words “Before it gets old”, with Alt, of course, being the German for old.
Torsten Heinson, a CEO of communications company Wunderknaben (wonder boys is a rough translation), saw this and decided enough was enough, the Kölners had breached the walls and had to be repulsed. Gathering the collective creativism of fellow Düsseldorfer and Altbier-fan colleagues, art directors, web designers and copywriters came together to create a focal-point, Alt Knallt (more or less Alt Bangs, in the fireworks sense), as a non-commercial initiative to try to mobilse the masses via social media to rescue their beloved Altbier from the encroachments of the pale invader.
Interestingly, no breweries are yet involved, and Wunderknaben are taking this on board as an internal project for the love of the beer and as a social experiment in trying to rally the troops while having a bit of fun.
So far it seems like early days. There are Facebook, Twitter and other social networking accounts ready to go, and the Alt Knallt site itself has a forum and an area where supporters can upload their own billboard designs as a counter-attack to insidious Kölsch invasion.
If I had to take sides, I think it's clear where my loyalties would lie, so here's my English-language contribution to the efforts. I know it just doesn't translate into German, but you get the meaning, right?