German Food Purity Laws
The Reinheitsgebot (German pronunciation: [ˈʁaɪnhaɪtsɡəboːt] (hear), literally “Reinheitsgebot”), is a set of regulations that restrict the ingredients of beer in Germany and the states of the former Holy Roman Empire. The best-known version of the law was adopted in Bavaria in 1516, but similar regulations date back to before the Bavarian order, and modern regulations also differ considerably from the Bavarian version of 1516. In April 1516, the Bavarian duke William IV issued his Purity Law, according to which only water, barley and hops could be used as key ingredients for beer production. This law formed the core of the German Purity Act, which still affects brewing today and makes it the oldest food and beverage regulation in the world. This regulation marked the beginning of a new era for beer brewers. Huhnholz says German brewers are also trying to be more creative with their beers while adhering to the purity law — for example, by adding aromatic hops that taste like grapefruit or pineapple. “The idea and the message is that German beer is pure and will be pure in the future,” he says. “You can do a lot with these four ingredients, but we have a `Dare, Risk, Dream` philosophy at Rogue,” says Maier. “The German purity law is outdated and needs to disappear or be updated. It`s like brewing in handcuffs! “It`s a difficult subject,” Brokamp says. “I see it as a kind of restriction.
I have colleagues who are calling for a law on natural ingredients. Many synthetic processing aids, for example for filtration, are used in brewing, even under the purity law, but they do not count as ingredients. I think the Reinheitsgebot needs to be revised. In response to the growth of craft breweries around the world, some commentators,:122 German brewers, and even German politicians have argued that the Reinheitsgebot has slowed the adoption in Germany of beer trends popular in the rest of the world, such as Belgian lambics and American craft styles. In late 2015, Bavarian brewers voted to revise beer laws to allow other natural ingredients.  The quality of German beers is mainly attributed to the Reinheitsgebot, also known as “Reinheitsgebot”, which has set the high standards for beer brewing for over 500 years. Friedel Draugsburg, 76 and one of the owners, says they only sell German beer brewed according to the law, which he describes as one of the oldest dietary laws in Germany. He adds that it is a sure way to ensure high quality and good taste. The Reinheitsgebot is not only the subject of debate more than ever between foreign beer producers and German brewers. The dispute also exists within the German brewing industry itself.
However, most proudly consider it part of the country`s cultural identity, with up to 85 percent of the population supporting the law, according to a recent poll representing the country`s leading breweries. When it comes to the Reinheitsgebot, he lets out a repentant sigh. Michael Ziegler, a 42-year-old man from Stuttgart, is one of the believers. He claims that “a German wants his beer to be produced according to the purity law” and adds: “When I go on holiday abroad, I drink wine.” For Ziegler, the four traditional ingredients are the most important aspect of his beer. Everything else is just not his beer – not his thing – or literally “not his beer”. The German Purity Act was introduced in 1516 by the Bavarian Duke William IV and still determines how beer is produced in Germany. This makes it the oldest surviving law in the world regarding food and drink. This is one of the foundations on which the Bitburger brewery group has built itself to achieve the highest level of quality.
And beer lovers from all over Germany celebrate the anniversary of the famous food law at events (read: subsidized consumption opportunities). “About 98% of so-called craft beers are brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot anyway,” he says. “Creativity is by no means limited. There is a lot of variety in four ingredients. With more than 1,300 breweries producing about five thousand five thousand five hundred different types of beer, Germany takes amber nectar seriously. There`s even a word for it – serious beer – which means “deadly serious” and literally translates to “serious beer”. This sober attitude applies in particular to the Reinheitsgebot. The decree introduced in 1516 by Duke William IV of Bavaria only allowed hops, barley, water and later yeast in each stone. For 500 years, this recipe has served Bavaria very well and since the last century the rest of Germany. But as Karlo Schorn, 48, an innkeeper in a Berlin bar, admits, tastes change.
“German beer is not as good as it was 20 years ago,” he complains. “Beer brands taste the same or almost the same taste. And the good beers that are now being rewarded do not come from Germany, but from America or elsewhere. Many countries with brewing traditions as old as Germany produce high-quality beer, he adds, without the purity law. But some German brewers dismiss the attempt to gain recognition from UNESCO as arrogance. They say the Reinheitsgebot comes from a bygone era and Germany can compete in the global beer market without it. In addition, some critics claim that the Reinheitsgebot was not really intended to protect consumers from harmful ingredients, but rather to prevent unwanted competitors from entering and maximize profits. For example, tiny particles of a synthetic polymer, polyvinylpolypyrrolidone, are used to bind suspended solids in an unfiltered infusion. This substance does not need to be indicated on the label because it is no longer detectable in the finished beer. This weekend marks the 500th anniversary of the Duke of Bavaria`s introduction of the Reinheitsgebot – strict rules that govern what can go into beer.
The German Purity Act was first implemented in Bavaria, but was gradually adopted by other German states. Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware (winner of the 2015 Wine Enthusiast`s Wine Star Award for Brewery of the Year) considers the Purity Act a kind of “artistic censorship.” If he were forced to work underneath, he says, “I think my inclination would be to be as innovative and experimental as possible with the four ingredients allowed. Hans-Georg Eils, president of the German Brewers` Association, said: “If Germany is still considered the undisputed nation of beer, it is thanks to the Reinheitsgebot. Many guests of the Permanent Representation near the former border between East and West Berlin welcome the Reinheitsgebot as a proud German tradition. The German Purity Act is recognized worldwide as a sign of the highest quality beer. In the mid-1500s, Bavaria began to allow ingredients such as coriander, bay leaf, and wheat. This led to the opening of Bavaria`s first wheat beer brewery in Kelheim in 1607. This wheat beer brewery was purchased by the Schneider family in 1928 and is now called Schneider Weisse. The Schneider Weisse brewery adheres to the Reinheitsgebot, but they focus their craft on hops, the ingredient that can mimic certain fruits and complement wheat. Second, the law aims to ban the use of wheat in brewing beer, as this could harm the production of bread, the staple food of medieval Germany. Even though German beer laws do not apply throughout the EU, German brewers adhere to this purity label.
Bitburger Brewery is no different: every production department and every brewer is aware of its responsibility. The quality associated with the “Made in Bitburg” label is known and appreciated by beer lovers all over the world. For this reason, at Bitburger we have several supervisory authorities that constantly monitor our compliance with the German Purity Act. Whether it`s the detailed examination of our raw materials in our in-house laboratory or the precise testing of our pipelines, seals or packaging materials: Bitburger leaves nothing to chance when it comes to quality and taste. Although some sources refer to the Bavarian law of 1516 as the first law regulating food safety, this is inaccurate as previous food safety regulations date back to ancient Rome.  Similarly, some sources claim that the law has remained essentially unchanged since its adoption, but as early as the mid-1500s, Bavaria began allowing ingredients such as coriander, bay leaf, and wheat.   Yeast was also added to modern versions of the law after its role in fermentation was discovered. Yes.
In Germany, home brewers who produce and do not sell up to 200 liters per year do not have to pay tax on their beer and do not comply with purity regulations. But spare the bilsenkraut. In the United States, brewmaster John Maier of Rogue Ales in Oregon used sriracha, coffee, and chipotle peppers in his beers. As you can imagine, he finds the German purity law restrictive. German breweries dissatisfied with the restrictions say they have led to uniformity and favored industrial-scale production rather than innovation in the industry. They claim it revokes the creative license and perpetuates a market for very similar beers. For marketers, the law of purity is a disaster because it`s not easy to be creative and resourceful with a product that contains only four ingredients. Germany exports 1.5 billion liters of beer a year and the country is very proud of its beer and the purity law.