Reinheitsgebot, Germany’s 500 year old Beer purity law

Stamp celebrating the history of the Reinheitsgebot.


The Reinheitsgebot  (literally "purity order"), sometimes called the "German Beer Purity Law", is the collective name for a series of regulations limiting the ingredients in beer in Germany src Wiki

Five hundred years ago, on April 23, 1516, two Bavarian dukes enacted the law. “In all cities and markets and in the countryside,” the Reinheitsgebot reads, “only barley, hops, and water may be used for brewing beer.” (Yeast was added to the law later, after Louis Pasteur discovered what was doing the fermenting.)  src HBR

The text of the 1516 Bavarian law is as follows:
We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:
From Michaelmas to Georgi, the price for one Mass [Bavarian Liter 1,069] or one Kopf [bowl-shaped container for fluids, not quite one Mass], is not to exceed one Pfennig Munich value, and
From Georgi to Michaelmas, the Mass shall not be sold for more than two Pfennig of the same value, the Kopf not more than three Heller [Heller usually one-half Pfennig].
If this not be adhered to, the punishment stated below shall be administered.
Should any person brew, or otherwise have, other beer than March beer, it is not to be sold any higher than one Pfennig per Mass.
Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, market-towns and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities' confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.
Should, however, an innkeeper in the country, city or market-towns buy two or three pails of beer (containing 60 Mass) and sell it again to the common peasantry, he alone shall be permitted to charge one Heller more for the Mass or the Kopf, than mentioned above. Furthermore, should there arise a scarcity and subsequent price increase of the barley (also considering that the times of harvest differ, due to location), WE, the Bavarian Duchy, shall have the right to order curtailments for the good of all concerned.
— Bavarian Reinheitsgebot of 1516 (emphasis added), Eden, Karl J. (1993)
The Bavarian order of 1516 was introduced in part to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye. The restriction of grains to barley was meant to ensure the availability of affordable bread, as wheat and rye were reserved for use by bakers. It has also been argued that the rule had a protectionist role, as beers from Northern Germany often contained additives that were not present in Bavarian beer.

Five hundred years ago, on April 23, 1516, two Bavarian dukes enacted the law. “In all cities and markets and in the countryside,” the Reinheitsgebot reads, “only barley, hops, and water may be used for brewing beer.” (Yeast was added to the law later, after Louis Pasteur discovered what was doing the fermenting.) src HBR

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