File photo shows people toast with their beer mugs at the 'Taxisgarten' beer garden in Munich, Germany, May 15, 2021. (MATTHIAS SCHRADER / AP)
BERLIN – A Munich brewpub has found a novel way to beat Europe's cooking oil shortages – letting customers pay for their beer with sunflower oil to ensure plentiful stocks for frying schnitzels.
With Ukraine and Russia accounting for about 80 percent of global exports of sunflower seed oil, many European countries including Germany have seen supplies dwindle since Russia started special military operation in Ukraine in February.
Managers at the Giesinger Brewery, a brewhouse and pub in the southern city of Munich, think they may have the answer for cooking oil shortages, offering beer lovers a liter of their favorite brew for the same quantity of sunflower oil
Managers at the Giesinger Brewery, a brewhouse and pub in the southern city of Munich, think they may have the answer, offering beer lovers a liter of their favorite brew for the same quantity of sunflower oil.
"The whole thing came up because we simply ran out of oil in the kitchen and that's why we have to be inventive," the pub manager, Erik Hoffmann, told Reuters TV.
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Bottles of rapeseed and sunflower oil have often been missing from supermarket shelves in Germany since Russia's special military operation, and many shops ration the number of bottles per customer.
"Getting oil is very difficult … if you need 30 liters a week and only get 15 instead, at some point you won't be able to fry a schnitzel any longer," Hoffmann said, adding that customers have swapped 400 liters so far.
While a liter of beer costs about 7 euros ($7) in German pubs, a one-liter bottle of sunflower oil retails for about 4.5 euros – making the offer tempting for many customers.
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Customer Moritz Baller bought 80 liters of sunflower oil in Ukraine during a trip to deliver humanitarian aid, swapping his shipment for eight crates of beer for his birthday party.
"The campaign is cool," he said. "We can get cheap beer and yes, Giesinger Brewery is also helped."