Düsseldorf and Köln are the Rhineland’s rival cities. Neither town has a good word to say about the other. At Karneval time the Kölner greet each other with the words “Alaaf!” while the Düsseldorfer shout “Helau!” During the rest of the year, the Kölner listen to the rock band “BAP” while the Düsseldorfer bop to “Die Tote Hosen”. And of course the Kölner drink Kölsch (literally “from Köln”) while the Düsseldorfer quaff Alt (literally “Old”).
So the new advertising campaign from the Kölsch brewery “Früh” (literally “early”) is bound to cause some raised hackles to the north.
The ad shows an empty Kölsch glass, and the words “Bevor es Alt wird” – literally “Before it becomes Alt” (a nice play on words – the capital A indicates that it is referring to the Düsseldorf beer, rather than meaning “before it gets old” – which would be “Bevor es alt wird”).
Düsseldorf is, however, striking back. Their riposte has been a picture of a Früh Kölsch with the phrase: Früh übt sich, was ein Alt werden will. Literally “Früh must practise to become an Alt” but also a play on an old saying: “Früh übt sich, wer ein Meister werden will” - He who would become a master must start practising early.
This ad is the result of a grassroots initiative to promote Düsseldorf Alt and protect it from the attacks of the Kölsch breweries. There is currently a competition running on their site where people can vote for the best anti-Kölsch ads.
There is bad news for Düsseldorf though – apparently sales of Kölsch are actually rising in the northern city. Unthinkable! Quick everyone… down to the pub!