What is the one top thing that comes to your mind when you think about Germany? For us, it is always German beer.
You can’t imagine being in Germany and not sipping on a giant mug of this classic German drink. Germans are famous for being the second-highest beer consumers in Europe.
Moreover, they also love to brew beer.
With more than 1300 brewers and 500 brands, Germany produces way more than 120 hectoliters of beer goodness every year. They take this drink quite seriously, and it is pretty apparent in their lifestyles.
And why would they not? Thanks to the 500 years old purity law, German beer tastes more impressive than many other alcoholic beverages worldwide.
But what is this law? And how impactful is it today?
If you are a beer and history lover, you are in for a treat. Continue reading as we unveil six intriguing truths about the Bavarian Purity Law.
6 Things About Bavarian Purity Law
Too old yet still going strong!
The Purity law is 500 years old, but it is still as relevant as it was years ago. Here are six interesting facts about this German law.
From its history to the present, there’s a lot you should know.
Why Was The Law Introduced?
Originally known as Reinheitsgebot, the application of purity law had more than one purpose. Firstly, it aimed to protect consumers from high beer prices.
Also, it was aimed at banning wheat in beer to promote more bread production. Moreover, it was essential to stop brewers from adding preservatives in German beers.
There was a strict prohibition on herbs and spices.
Introduced by Ludwig X, this law was initially applicable to the bavarian community.
However, the Germans took it very seriously. As a result, it finally got implemented all over the country in 1906.
What Does The Law Say?
“Hops and malt for beer, may God preserve them here.” It is a famous German saying that perfectly highlights the purity law.
According to the original law, the beer would only have barley, water, and hops as core ingredients.
In 1516, brewers weren’t aware of the importance of yeast in beer making. However, soon yeast also took a spot as a core ingredient in German beer.
Moreover, wheat production was pretty limited in Germany for some time. But when it became common, malted grains joined the list of ingredients as well.
Today, the purity law allows hops, water, yeast, and malted grains in beer but nothing more.
When this law was first introduced, it also covered a few other regulations. For instance, it highlighted the limitations on profits earned by inn owners.
It also included a list of penalties for producing impure beer.
Moreover, the law set a specific price on a bottle of beer for a uniform pricing policy throughout the nation. Those who wouldn’t abide by the law faced charges decided by the court authorities.
What Impact Did This Law Have On European Union?
After World War I, purity law became the basis of the new beer tax law. However, Bavaria resisted joining any country until it fully complied with the purity Law.
In 1987, the EU saw this demand as a trade limitation. As a result, Germany had to accept the selling of non-conforming beverages in its country.
However, the beers sold had to highlight any additional ingredients on their packaging.
Despite this measure still in place, Germany encourages its local brewers to abide by the purity law. That is, to make beer with only four essential ingredients and no preservatives.
All German brewers have to follow the purity law or face strict penalties.
Are There Any Exceptions To The Law?
Even today, the German authorities take their unique beer as tradition. They don’t allow preservatives or artificial additives.
Moreover, the German government promotes brewers that follow the purity law to the dot.
However, no rule comes without any exceptions. The beers that don’t comply with the purity law are very much accepted in Germany today.
Moreover, this law doesn’t apply to producers who make less than 53 gallons of beer every year.
Besides, the exemption of Reinheitsgebot also applies for beer made solely for the export market.
What Is The Significance Of The Purity Law Today?
The purity law is one of the oldest consumer laws that are pretty applicable today. This law is still the basis of quality assurance by regular beer drinkers.
However, with a revolution in technology and science, beer methods today are far more different than they were in 1516. Today brewers use advanced equipment and ingredients to ensure the purity and quality of this alcoholic beverage.
In the last few years, many German politicians and brewers have argued on purity law’s restrictions. They believe this law has slowed down Germany’s adoption of popular trends worldwide.
Germans still think their beer is richer than all. However, they are unable to properly cash their status as one of the best beer producers worldwide.
Before things could go worse, in 2015, brewers voted in favor of a law revision. They asked for permission to add more ingredients to German beer.
This request was made to enhance this beverage’s taste and make it much more competitive.
Irrespective of these minor amendments, the purity law still stands strong. It is an integral part of Germany’s beer culture.
Moreover, the locals love when their beer meets all the standards set by this law.
Is Purity Law Acceptable By Future Generations?
Beer and the purity law are two significant parts of German culture. They will continue to hold a great place in the lives of all future generations, as it’s still pretty relevant.
Even with the changing times and technology, this law still represents quality assurance. It promotes the preservation of critical factors that differentiate a German beer from other alcoholic drinks.
Moreover, the purity law makes sure that the future German generations stay proud of the unique beer they make for the rest of the world.