Bavaria, one of the largest “provinces” (land) in the Federal Republic of Germany, is better known for its BMW (Bayerische Motorenwerke) and breweries than its agricultural products.
Munich, the cultural and economic heart of Bavaria, teems with beer halls and beer gardens, restaurants, museums, and stores the envy of many other cities in Europe.
BMW, once on the brink of bankruptcy, was always a very sturdy and mechanically well-designed car. Older models simply failed to attract young drivers until a genial marketing manager was able to persuade the board of governors to change the design. Now it is one the best selling luxury cars in the world with a reputation that rivals that of Mercedes, another fine car from outside of Stuttgart barely 200 kilometers north and west of Munich.
Aside from automobile manufacturing, Bavaria boasts 650 breweries producing 40 different types to the tune of 22.7 millions of hectoliters (1 hectoliter=100 liters= approximately 46 imperial gallons), of which 2.6 million hectoliters are exported.
as in all of Germany, beer must be brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot edict of 23rd April 1516, decreed by Wilhelm IV. German beer must contain only water, malt and hops. There are two other countries that follow the Reinheitsgebot dictums – Switzerland and Norway. Switzerland follow the rule by law and Norway by convention. Bavarian brewed beers, almost all lager types are light, refreshing, flavourful, brilliant in colour, and possess a long aftertaste. A few small highly specialized breweries also brew some wheat beers and “smoked” beers. Some of the best and most modern breweries of the world i.e Lowenbrau, Spatenbrau, Hofbrau, Augustiner, Paulaner, and Hacker-Pschorr are located in Munich.
Bavaria’s per capita beer consumption is close to 500 liters, which may be the highest anywhere. In Belgium the average per capita beer consumption is approximately 151 liters and the Czech Republic 150 liters. Consider that on construction sites at 10 o’clock during the obligatory break, workers wash their leberkase-sandwich with a bottle of beer. Of course the Oktoberfest contributes to this very high beer consumption figure.
Less well known is Bavaria’s huge milk and cheese production. In 2004 (the latest figures available) the region produced 7 ½ million metric tons of milk, almost 25 per cent of the German total of 287.2 million metric tons. This enormous amount of milk comes from “contented” cows grazing on the lush meadows of Bavaria and helped pave the way to thriving cheese industry. It produces 400 types, including Emmental from Allgau, Mountain cheese from Allgau, Bavarian mushroom cheese, mozzarella, hard cheeses, Combozola, a cream and blue cheese combination and butter cheese. In total, Bavarian dairies produced 889 000 metric tones of cheese in 2005, of which 1/3 was exported to mainly Italy, France and Austria.