I was either wrong all along about this being a one-sided, made-up competition between BrewDog and Schorschbräu that was just a part of the BrewDog marketing machine, or I was right when I said that this would become a self-fulfilling prophesy as it got hyped up. Either way, I get the impression both sides are taking it personally (although thankfully BrewDog removed the personal jabs against the Franken brewer from the promo move). Why do I think it's gonna become self-fulfilling and just reach new heights? I just came across a piece on merkur-online.de about Schorschbräu losing the record. A rough translation below.
With an alcohol content of 41%, the strong beer brewed by BrewDog has more alcohol than that brewed by the Franconian Brewery Schorschbräu in Gunzenhausen, British media reported on Tuesday. The 330-milliliter bottle is under the name "Sink the Bismarck" (The last voyage order the Bismarck) is available for 40 pounds (46 euros) over the Internet. The beer is named after a war film in which the British Navy hunt for the German battleship Bismarck. The brewer of the Franconian Brewery Schorschbräu, George Tscheuschner, however, expressed doubts about the alleged new record.
He has supposed that the Scots would have kept the beer in whiskey barrels and it was therefore also included whiskey alcohol, he told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Nuremberg. He was just about to prove it. "I wish there to be fair competition," said Tscheuschner. He himself would soon bring out a beer with 45% by volume of alcohol. The high alcohol content is achieved by the so-called Eisbockverfahren, where the beer freezes and separates the ice crystals. The remaining liquid, the alcohol and sugar concentration is then even higher. Schorschbräu in Franconia Gunzenhausen specializes in strong beers.
Tscheuschner said he was producing limited editions of no more than 1,000 bottles a year. Of the 40-percent "Record beer," the Schorschbock that he had previously produced 95 bottles. The bottle costs 99 euros. This pipeline is clearly a specialty for collectors and enthusiasts.
So, yeah, he thought they might be cheating, and of course now he's gonna come out with another volley. I guess competition is healthy, and a race for a record like this, while perhaps silly, is kinda fun too. As long as it's a clean fight with respect on both sides, I say let them at it!
But, won't somebody think of the children!?
BBC Radio 5 had both James and Georg on for an interview in the early hours of February 19th. Nothing about accusations of cheating was brought up, and Georg, although saying that as a German he couldn't play the "war card", said he thought the video was very funny. For his part, James said that they had wanted to make a beer that hit the strength of whisky for some time, and it was simply a case of timing that led to the name and this new competition between the two breweries. Georg basically said that it's to everybody's advantage, and one of his drivers was to introduce new, challenging tastes to German drinkers who are normally used to the usual Helles, Dunkles, Pils and Weissbier offerings from German breweries (he's right too). He said they're planning another one. So, all in all, pretty civilised, and it would have been nice to hear the two brewers talk directly to each other with out a presenter in between. Of course the radio presenter couldn't help but throw in phrases like "the Bunker" and "Blitzkrieg". No wonder the Germans just shrug it off...