Several days before Drupa, I received a phone call from Dieter Wunderlichenstein, President of the European Bratwurst Council. He went on and on about a crisis that was prevented just in time for Drupa and he asked me to write about it.

For decades, printers from all over the world have travelled to Germany for Drupa - the quintessential trade show devoted to all that is printing. This is the story of how the Printing Industry and the European Bratwurst Council saved Drupa 2004. For the people of Düsseldorf, Drupa 2004 will be one of those stories they tell their children about and their children will tell their children...

Once upon a time at a trade show far, far away, thousands of print industry executives and equipment manufacturers made the trek to the beautiful city of Düsseldorf. With its cosmopolitan charm and Rhenish lust for life, the culture and atmosphere of this great city make it a perfect place for an event like Drupa. Düsseldorf is world famous for the flair of the elegant Konigsallee, shopping and strolling boulevard, its vibrant Old Town with 260 pubs and its arts and culture scene.

Behind the scenes of Drupa 2004, a dark ominous cloud hung over the town of Düsseldorf and the keepers of the 260 pubs, clubs and restaurants who rely on Drupa to enrich their lives and economy. This dark cloud has a name, LOW CARB. Yes, low carb diets and Americans rushing to rein in their bulging appetites was on the verge of ruining Drupa 2004 for hundreds of Bratwurst vendors, the people of Düsseldorf, and the hundreds of equipment manufacturers so dependent on Drupa 2004 for an economic shot in the arm.

On March 25th, 2003 at a little Café in Tuscany, the European Bratwurst Council met to discuss the potential impact the low carb revolution could have on Drupa 2004.

The 12-member Council listened to a riveting presentation by Mr. Anthony Gotti, a pig farmer and olive oil producer from Italy. Mr. Gotti was also a specialist in low carb trends and had recently written a white paper entitled “The Greatest Threat to Drupa 2004: The Atkins and South Beach Diets - An Axis of Evil".

The Council members were all in agreement - the Axis of Evil must be confronted before it wreaked havoc at Drupa 2004. The plan: Immediately implement a three-stage 24/7 warning system capable of providing all Bratwurst industry members with a concise means of measuring the Axis of Evil's threat level at any time. That day the level was set at green, the lowest alert level while Council members continued to monitor the situation.

On June 25th 2003, a report was released to the council indicating the Axis of Evil had declared its first major victory. The report contained information that San Francisco's Sourdough bread sales fell 23% due to American consumers switching to low carb diets. On June 28th the Council convened and voted unanimously to raise the threat level from green to orange. Over the next eight months the Council continued to meet and monitor chatter. As Drupa loomed closer top members of the printing industry were briefed to the potential impact on Drupa 2004.

With just over a month to go before Drupa, the unthinkable happened. The Axis of Evil struck the Pentagon of Sugar - Krispy Creme. The king of scrumptious high sugar, high fat food products, once thought impenetrable had been struck for the very first time. Executives from Krispy Creme announced the company would not meet projected forecasts and stores would have to close.

The Council convened a closed-door emergency session on April 1st 2004 and immediately raised the threat level to a stage red emergency. Top executives from the printing industry were informed and it was agreed that a decision had to be made whether or not Drupa 2004 could survive with a large contingency of Americans now refusing to eat anything but low carb foods. Two days later Travel and Leisure Magazine announced Düsseldorf had been named the top city in the world for low carb dieters to avoid.

On April 23rd the Council met again and discovered that it was true, Düsseldorf had no low carb foods.

On April 25th the Council and executives from the printing industry gathered once again for a marathon session. Finally on the fourth day there was a breakthrough when Gerhardt Werner, a Bratwurst Council member from Poland, suggested the perfect solution - the first JDF compliant Bratwurst. “Americans love JDF. They have no clue what it actually is but they do love it.” The idea passed the Council unanimously and the ten-member Bratwurst Vendor Committee was asked to vote so the plan could be implemented.

Surprisingly the Vendor Committee was unable to reach an agreement on JDF Bratwurst standards. Six of the members voted to implement a Kosher JDF Bratwurst standard while the four other members wanted their own JDF Bratwurst non-Kosher standard. This was disastrous as it would force the sellers of Bratwurst to have two totally different types of steamers on their carts and would be cost prohibitive for most of them. For two more days there was debate and ranker.

Finally the vendors agreed on a Kosher JDF Bratwurst standard and the rest is history. As Drupa ended last month, the European Bratwurst Council issued a press release announcing that Bratwurst sales exceeded all expectations for Drupa 2004 and Americans returned home with no decrease in their waistlines. The Council lowered the threat level to green and Kosher JDF Bratwurst has now become the worldwide standard for Bratwurst. And now you know the rest of the story.