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Q: In Germany, they use bubbly bottled water for everything, including to dilute juice, wine and (shudder) beer. What’s up with that?

A: For one thing, Germany has numerous springs from which mineral water flows, and Germans use it for both drinking and bathing. Sixty-five springs are tested regularly by the German government, according to the Web site, www.germany- tourism.de

Drinking mineral water became a way of life after World War II, when the quality of municipal water was very poor and all water had to be boiled, according to Brita Kramer, who teaches the German Head Start program at the Stuttgart Welcome Center.

Kramer also noted that in most German restaurants, people can come and stay for as long as they want. So the restaurants make them buy something, such as bottled water.

Germans think the bubbly mineral water tastes good and the bubbles do a better job of quenching thirst. But what about spoiling a perfectly good glass of juice, wine or even beer with bubbly water?

“The only reason to do it is to reduce the alcohol in order to be able to drink more wine,†said Tom Schaeffer, whose family operates Weingut Shaeffer in Hambach, near Neustadt.

Got a question about goings-on Europe? E-mail Stars and Stripes at: news@estripes.osd.mil

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