Weber Company Store in Germany

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
I am back home and starting to get back on track after 10 days in Germany. I accompanied my friend Joe, the director of the publishing division of our small non-profit, manning our booth at the Frankfurt International Book Fair. It was very informative as we held meetings with fellow publishers, printers and related persons from Brazil, China, Belarus, Czech Republic, Slovakia and other places in Europe. As part of our trip, Joe offered me the opportunity to visit some places in Germany after the fair was over. Got to take in Wittenberg, where Martin Luther lived and posted his 95 theses, Berlin - including Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall, the Brandenburg Gate and several museums, an incredible tank museum where I got to see in person the German Tiger I and II tanks I used to make models of and many other tanks from WWI to present. One very cool stop for me, though, was a visit to one of the two company stores Weber operates in Germany.



Weber's store includes not only a retail store with EVERYTHING Weber you can think of, but also a "Grill Academy" with hands on teaching of grilling and barbecuing. As many have noted, Weber does sell stuff in Europe that you can't purchase in the US. They had SIX colors of Smokey Joe grills - including IVORY - and, yes, the stainless steel 22" kettle grate with the GBS center. Joe was an enabler and assured me that we could get both of these into our luggage for returning to the US. I was an easy pushover, and in spite of the prices I figured this was a once in a life-time opportunity. With a lot of finagling, somehow we did it:



p.s. If you are jealous of that stainless grate, I will tell you that it is highly magnetic and therefor not 304. Still, it is a big improvement over nickel chrome plated regular steel.

The Smokey Joe is very different from the late 1980's one I already have as a display item in my home office. For one thing, the vents are on the side. It comes with an ash pan, but you put that INSIDE the grill, under the charcoal grate. And that charcoal grate is pretty unusual as well. Super tight spacing that Larry would envy for use as a cooking grate!



I don't really expect to ever cook on this thing, but I am a little skeptical of how well it would work anyway. I think my old black Smoky Joe with the bottom classic vent allowing air to come up through the charcoal would work way better.

Well, I have lots to post, but I can't do anymore tonight. Here are a couple teaser pictures from the store. I will add more tomorrow...





 
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Chris in GA

TVWBB Pro
Awesome post Jon. Love it. Like the story, Europe has so many places to see.
The Weber store looks great.
Not sure why there is no Weber store in US, look at Apple their stores are always packed.
I bet that more than 50% of US population knows what Weber is, a dedicated store may work. I am not talking about Ace.
What is that Weber pulse ?
Post more pics from Germany please. Great 👍🏻 post.
 

Bruce

TVWBB Olympian
I have never really understood why Weber doesn't offer all this stuff in the US as well and why they make different products and variations of the products and only sell them over seas?

Really cool pictures. Thanks Jon.
 

Stefan H

TVWBB Wizard
Glad to hear you had fun Jon and got to see a lot in Germany. I am still in Europe and spent a week in Switzerland and Italy visiting family who is spread all over Europe. I will be heading back to Germany today and I am thinking of getting a Smokey Joe as well but I am not sure yet. Prices are crazy in Europe.
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
That looks like something very American in Germany, to me.

Some Texas pit builders I follow on IG are shipping 1000 gallon propane tank offsets to Sweden and Germany. Matt Pittman who started Meat Church goes to Sweden to teach classes, as does Tuffy Stone. Generally, from what I can tell, American products and culture are not accepted well in Europe, but I could be wrong.

Enjoy the pics and this look at Germany, but really, I would've preferred to see pics from the tank museum :)
 

LMichaels

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Really nice photos. That's one thing I love about Europe. They take the mundane (grills) and turn the marketing into something special
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
That looks like something very American in Germany, to me. Generally, from what I can tell, American products and culture are not accepted well in Europe, but I could be wrong.

Enjoy the pics and this look at Germany, but really, I would've preferred to see pics from the tank museum :)
Tank museum, ��
I promise to post a bunch more as time allows, but here is quick response to a couple requests/comments:

I was told by a German person we met - not at the Weber store - that grilling was really catching on in Germany and that Weber grills were growing in popularity. The store was extremely nice. I think trying to look like US Weber in one sense, but also in a way that appeals to Europeans.



The store employees told me that gas grills were the most popular and were selling very well. While we were there they were having a gas grilling class going on.

Tank Museum

The tank museum would probably not be on many typical American's bucket list, but for me was a great opportunity. I used to make models of all the German WWII tanks and still can rattle off a lot about each design. I never dreamed I would see ALL of them in person! Not only did they have all the German tanks but also Russian, American and even Israeli.

Here is a replica of the first German tank used on a limited basis in WWI. The British use of tanks made an impression on the Germans which they carried over in developing the "Blitzkrieg" lighting war strategies they utilized so devastatingly in WWII.



Here is a Panzer Kpfw IV that was captured by the British in Africa. It has paint and logos from the German Afrika Corps (lead by the great general, Erwin Rommel, the "Desert Fox"). Although the famous Tiger tanks get most of the attention, this was really Germany's main battle tank:





When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 they encountered the T-34. It utilized more advanced concepts such as sloping armor which the Germans rushed to incorporate in their later tanks. This T-34 is a later model from after the war and was the type the Hungarian revolutionaries tried to fend off with Molotov cocktails:



The first tank designed by Germany using sloping armour, Panzer Kpfw V "Panther" was probably the best all around tank used by any country in the Second World War:



TO BE CONTINUED
 
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Stefan H

TVWBB Wizard
Really nice photos. That's one thing I love about Europe. They take the mundane (grills) and turn the marketing into something special
Yes but they also charge a lot more. The Weber grills cost more in Euro than in $USD. These grills are marketed as high priced exclusive grills in Europe vs "just grills" in the US. No one in the US would pay 89 Euro or $99 for a Smokey Joe. Same for the 22" or the gassers. With the current exchange rate these grills are making a lot of money for Weber in Europe.
 

Bruce

TVWBB Olympian
Does Weber even have any dedicated outlets in the US. It seems the Germans have "WEBER Stores" that sell weber stuff exclusively, whereas in the US, they are a line of items sold in more generalized stores.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
Does Weber even have any dedicated outlets in the US. It seems the Germans have "WEBER Stores" that sell weber stuff exclusively, whereas in the US, they are a line of items sold in more generalized stores.
I believe the company stores are an international thing. Not just Germany, also other countries including the UK.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
Tiger Tanks and Beyond

I promised I would finish out the post about the tank museum that several of you asked to see. My earlier post showed the first German tank from WWI through the Panzer Kfw V "Panther." This follows up with the famous Tiger tanks and some modern stuff. The museum had dozens and dozens of tanks in an amazing display.

This is the Panzer Kfw VI Tiger Tank. It came out in 1942, but was actually and older design that still used flat armor - but a whole lot of it! This was one of the tanks of legend. The museum had a propaganda video playing showing Tiger tanks rolling across the Russian front.





The last of the German tanks was the Panzer Kfw VII Tiger II or "King Tiger" tank. This thing was probably the most heavily armored and armed main battle tanks of the war. Enormous with thick sloping armor and a deadly 88mm long barrel cannon. It was produced in too few numbers to really have any impact, but you can imagine the terror it struck in opposing forces with tanks much smaller and less well armed.





Here is the US Sherman tank that would have had to try and take on one of these Tigers:eek:!



After the war, West Germany ultimately joined NATO and began building tanks again. The first, the Leopard, was a modern tank with some good features. The museum had one of these outside with a ladder so you could get inside the cramped turret. I don't see any way three guys could work together under combat situations in one of these:rolleyes:!



The Leopard was followed up by the Leopard II which looks very modern:



One of the other modern tanks they had was the Israeli designed Merkava. This tank has the engine in the front and has many safety features. All of the crew members in Merkavas that were destroyed in the Lebanon conflict survived to fight another day - an amazing safety record.

 
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Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
Back to Grills...

Great post Jon. I look forward to seeing the rest of the pics.
Question - is that an all black Spirit on the wall? I like that look.
Yes, they had the two and three burner version of the original Spirit on sale. They featured and updated black trim that was very eye-catching, but probably inexpensive to do. I am guessing they kept this as an entry-level price grill since all of the Weber grills are premium priced in Germany.



 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Honor Circle
An interesting grate feature

There was more to see than I had time to really look at. My traveling companion was kind enough to include this stop (and help talk me into buying two things;)!), so I felt I had try to not overdue it.

I passed a Genesis II with the extra "sear" burner. What caught my eye was a brilliant stroke I have thought of but never seen for sale here in the US. The sear burner is off to one side. However, the grates I have seen with the GBS feature (so far only for the earlier 300 series Genesis) have the removable section in the middle. Kind of defeats the "sear grate" attachment for it to not be over the sear burner. Well, in Germany it looks like they fixed that:



I WILL CONTINUE TO POST MORE AS I HAVE TIME

Yet to come:

  • European Master Touch
  • Weber History on display
  • Weber Pulse Grill
  • Photo Opp with a Weber Chef!
 

Lynn Dollar

TVWBB All-Star
The Sherman's 75 mm gun and mostly 2" armor was no match for the Tiger or King Tiger. But Americans avoided " tank on tank " battles with German armor. If our troops or armored units encountered a Tiger, they backed off and called in close air support, of which we had great air superiority.

And there weren't very many Tigers. And those that they had were broken down a lot, German engineering was too complicated. Or they did not have fuel. King Tigers had trouble operating on the small roads and bridges of the Ardennes forest, tanks were made for open fields to begin with, and then this behomoth that was extremely heavy had to go battle in a forest.

But Allied forces had no trouble keeping Sherman's running, they were simple, there was a lot of interchangeable parts, and about any one could work on them. We had farm boys who had been working on tractors and were now tank crew, and they could work on the Sherman. And we vastly outnumbered German armor.
 

Bruce

TVWBB Olympian
Jon, thanks for the history lessons on both war machines and cooking machines. Very interesting stuff.
 

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