The German Beer Purity Law

Modern times can sometimes mean that traditions are lost and new technology replaces old knowledge. That is not the case with beer. Wilhelm IV's Beer Purity law was brought into effect in 1516, and it is still the foundation of Bitburger's understanding of quality to this day. It is the oldest regulation related to food and drink in the world.
To achieve a consistent level of quality in beer brewing, the German Beer Purity Law dictate that the ingredients for beer must be water, barley malt and hops. The important role that yeast plays in brewing was only recognised in the 19th century.

Stop What You’re Doing!

To make their brew more durable and give it a very special taste, every possible ingredient was tried and tested by brewers in the Middle Ages. Their brewing experiments often encountered serious dangers to life and limb. Time put a stop to this though, with the introduction of legal regulations. 

In April 1516, the Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV issued his Beer Purity Law, stipulating that only water, barley and hops were allowed to be used as key ingredients for beer production. This law went on to form the core of the German Beer Purity Laws that still affect brewing today, making it the oldest regulation related to food and drink in the world. This regulation marked the start of a new era for beer brewers.

An Important Fourth Ingredient Is Included

German brewers don’t exclusively use malted barley, water and hops in their brewing anymore. An important fourth ingredient is now included: yeast. Since the end of the 19th century, the role of yeast in the brewing process has been well known. It is used to achieve fermentation in a specific and controlled manner.

Protectors of the German Beer Purity Law

Even though Germany’s laws surrounding beer are not applicable in the whole of the EU, German brewers still hold on to this sign of purity. The Bitburger brewery is no different: every production department and every brewer knows their responsibility. The quality that comes with the “Made in Bitburg” seal is known and respected by beer-enthusiasts worldwide.
For this reason, we have several supervisory authorities at Bitburger, who continuously monitor our compliance with German Beer Purity Laws. Whether stringently investigating our raw ingredients in our in-house laboratory, or closely inspecting our piping, gasket seals or packaging materials: Bitburger does not leave anything to chance when it comes to quality and taste.