Germany's Purity Law for Beer: A 500 Year History

Germany's Purity Law for Beer: A 500 Year History

500 ago on April 23rd, 1516 the German Purity Law for beer was passed in Bavaria.


The law stipulated that the only ingredients for beer had to be water, hop and barley (malt).

Later on yeast was allowed to be added.
In 1906 the Purity Law was introduced in all of Germany.

It is still a law that is applied in Germany today.

When Germany tried to ban all beers that where not brewed according to the Purity Law it lost the trial at the European Court of Law back in the 1980s
However, the German beer brewers responded with a marketing campaign. They put the sentence “Brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516” (Gebraut nach den Deutschen Reinheitsgebot von 1516) on every beer bottle, glass and coaster. And that is legal.


The German Purity Law for beer is the oldest Food Law in the world.

As we Germans love the quality and the taste of our beer the campaign was very successful. We have about 1000 breweries and over 2000 different flavors developed during over 1000 years of beer brewing history. It has been the most popular alcoholic drink in Germany for over a century.
But there is much more to it than just the good taste. For Germans it also means tradition and feeling at home. Every Bavarian loves his “Weizenbier”, every Colognian his “Kölsch” and in Duesseldorf we love our “Altbier”.
Cheers to the German Purity Law and all these lovely beers!