Business man patents ‘Grexit” for sour schnapps

A German schnapps maker sees the funny side of souring German-Greek relations, patenting the name “Grexit” for a bitter schnapps.

HAMM, GERMANY (JUNE 24, 2015) (REUTERS) – A Germany schnapps-maker is tapping into the bittersweet relations between Germany and Greece by patenting the name “Grexit” for a sour vodka schnapps. As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade…

Spirits producer Uwe Dahlhoff has tried to lighten the sour taste of a potential Greek exit of the euro zone with his new creation, a vodka-lemon mixture for which he patented the name “Grexit” at the beginning of the year.

Germans, set to lose billions if Greece leaves the single currency, can at least drown their sorrows with the tipple – that is, if they can bear the sight of its label, where cartoon versions of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis raise their glasses triumphantly under a miserable-looking German Chancellor Angela Merkel encircled by the European Union’s iconic star logo.

“The satirical background means nothing else than that (german Chancellor) Angela Merkel – who is a staunch defender of the Eurozone – is very angry (‘sour’) that the gentlemen in Greece (Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis) simply haven’t done anything yet. And so it should just be a subtle dig, or a little push, to show the funny side of the bitterness of it. She is bitter and they are funny. That’s the point,” Dahlhoff said on Wednesday (June 24) in explanation of the drink’s motto, “Sauer macht lustig” or “Sour can be fun”.

The “Grexit” creator added that there was room for a little lightheartedness – and presumably light-headedness – around the issue which has gripped the bloc in recent weeks as the country’s far-left Syriza government and creditors have struggled to reach a new debt deal.

“The discussion around the Grexit is obviously very serious. But I would like to keep out of it politically, I can’t say anything much about it. All I can say is that bringing the product out as a satire is supposed to make people think twice about it all, or to think about it all at all, and look at how serious the situation really is,” Dahlhoff told Reuters.

Cans and bottles of “Grexit” are set to be ready for sale in Germany next week, but Dahlhoff said he can envisage a drink that can cross borders – even if there is no longer a currency that can do the same.

“If there is no Grexit, then I still know for certain, that the topic of a Grexit will still be in the headlines, I know that – and you can’t have a better publicity, than that people are permanently talking about ‘Grexit’, and that the topic is constantly being politicised in even shorter time-spans.”

In Greece, where the economy has shrunk by about a quarter since the start of the recession in late 2008 and more than one in four people are jobless, comedy schnapps may not yet be at the top of customers’ squeezed shopping bill.

“There are people who might understand it the wrong way, there are people who might put it into the wrong box,” Dahlhoff admits. “There are of course lots of different opinions about the product, from ‘great idea’, to ‘absolutely not’, because they didn’t get it. I don’t have anything against the Greeks, it is not the fault of the Greek people at all that Greece is in the state it is. I wouldn’t have any issue at all in exporting the product to Greece, no problem at all. I just don’t know how the Greeks would react.”

But in case the Germans do get a taste for a “Grexit”, an energy drink is also planned to expand the line later in the year – which might perk up sales in Germany, even if it doesn’t revive the Greek economy.