Enterprising pub offers bitter-sweet deal amid global food crisis

With Ukraine and Russia producing 80% of global exports of sunflower seed oil, supplies have dwindled in recent months, leading to a cooking oil shortage and supermarket restrictions throughout Europe – but one German pub has found a solution.

With Ukraine and Russia producing 80% of global exports of sunflower seed oil, supplies have dwindled in recent months, leading to a cooking oil shortage and supermarket restrictions throughout Europe – but one German pub has found a solution.

Managers at Giesinger Brewery, a brewhouse and pub in Munich, have declared customers can pay for their beer with sunflower oil – one litre of frothy brew in return for the same quantity of 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,” pub manager Erik Hoffmann told Reuters.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, bottles of rapeseed and sunflower oil have been in short supply in Germany, with many shops rationing the number of bottles per customer.

“Getting oil is very difficult … if you need 30 litres a week and only get 15 instead, at some point you won’t be able to fry a schnitzel any longer,” Mr Hoffmann said.

Customers have been quick to jump on board, swapping 400 litres so far, and it’s not hard to see why – one litre of beer costs about 7 euros (A$10) in German pubs, while a one-litre bottle of sunflower oil retails for about 4.5 euros.

One customer bought 80 litres of sunflower oil in Ukraine during a trip to deliver humanitarian aid, swapping his shipment upon return for eight crates of beer for his birthday party.

“The campaign is cool,” the customer said. “We can get cheap beer and, yes, Giesinger Brewery is also helped.”

The situation is reminiscent of Australia’s toilet paper shortage in 2020, in which supermarket shelves were bare amid COVID panic buying and enterprising businesses looked to barter.

One Aussie cafe that found its suppliers out of stock decided to offer a coffee-for-toilet-paper deal to their customers in a desperate bid to restock rolls in their establishment.

Having considered but ultimately rejecting the idea of restocking with newspapers, paperbark trees or even coffee leaves, the cafe in Far North Queensland offered to exchange a takeaway coffee for three rolls of toilet paper or a 1kg bag of beans for a pack of 36 rolls.

Sources:

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