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The radler was conceptualized in 1922 when a German innkeeper named Franz Kugler found an ingenious way to stretch his beer supply. Apparently in the 1920s, cycling as a leisure pursuit became hugely popular in Germany (and around the world). During this time, Kugler created a bicycle trail from Munich, through the woods, to his drinking establishment in a nearby town.

Legend has it “13,000 cyclists” arrived in one day. Unprepared for the demand, Kugler was running low on beer but had plenty of lemon soda. He mixed them together, the thirsty riders loved them, and the rest is history. The term radler is even derived from this anecdote. It’s shorthand for the German word radlermass – “radler” meaning cyclist and “mass” meaning liter. It is also suggested that a radler’s low ABV means a cyclist can drink a few without affecting his or her athletic performance.

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