Germany exports 1.5 billion litres of beer every year, and the country is pretty proud of its beer and “Reinheitsgebot” (also known as the purity law).
What is the “Reinheitsgebot”
(pronounced as: Rine-Hites-GaBoat)?
The purity law requires that nothing other than barley, hops and water (and later yeast) be used to produce beer.
The decree, issued in Ingolstadt (Bavaria) in 1516, had three aims: to protect drinkers from high prices; to ban the use of wheat in beer so more bread could be made; and to stop unscrupulous brewers from adding dubious ingredients as preservatives or flavourings.
So ensuring German beer contained only high-quality products the law protected the public from drinking poor standard beverages.
Duke Wilhelm IV’s beer purity regulation of 1516 was gradually implemented in other parts of southern Germany. It eventually became law in the north and thus the whole country in 1906.
Today the Reinheitsgebot is the oldest valid consumer protection law in the world.
The purity law also brought about a standardisation in production well ahead of its time. Foreign brewers who wanted to enter the local market also had to adhere to the law and so its influence began to spread far and wide.
As a result, German beer became world renowned for its quality and consistency. There are more than 900 breweries in Germany and they all brew according to the Reinheitsgebot.