It appears that the whole "beer is the new wine" thing has yet to make it to Vienna, one of the centers of the impending 2008 European Fitba Championships where prices and access to good beer are being...errr...managed:
"It is crazy. Completely idiotic," said Christian Habermueller, 35, who offers horse and carriage rides to tourists in Vienna's city centre. Talk of the tournament is still largely greeted with a shrug of the shoulders or a blank expression in Vienna, but news that their Alpine neighbours will be able to buy the same beer for less has the Austrians furiously gesticulating. "You won't find any locals there with such prices," said Florian Krug, a 38-year-old Vienna administrator. "It is true that the beer will cost the most in Vienna, but we will also have the biggest fan zone, requiring the biggest infrastructure, and there will be a large entertainment programme," said Anja Richter of the Vienna Euro 2008 organising committee. "We don't want to encourage alcoholism and there will be four free drinking fountains where fans can drink Vienna water which is of excellent quality," she added."Let them drink water," she says. We don't want no stinkin' beery alcoholics," she says.¹ Then the Austrian drinker has the pleasure of knowing that their own local beer is not part of the celebration because the Danes² bought the rights and then closed the door, arguably providing a constant supply of something some might find not that different from what you can find in the fountain.
So what is the Euro 2008 fan to do? Well, first off Belgium is out so there's none of that to fall back on. And no England³ or Scotland° either. The Netherlands, however, are in as is the Czech Republic giving some quality selections to the table. Me? I am looking for whatever I can get here at this one estranged corner of the soccery beery world. That might mean finding the odd tap of keg weisse or dunkel across the room from maybe a 12 inch black and white TV. This is North America, after all. And it doesn't mean I am backing Germany - but I'll drink the beer.
¹ I expect the VIP viewing boxes and FIFA executive hotel rooms will be treated similarly and afforded that water (never mind the bird poo) from public fountains...or will they have the champagne and other treats provided to the masters of international sports administration?
² The Danes! Whose team didn't even make it!
³ ha ha!