Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Reinheitsgebot

Seeing as German beer consumption is at the lowest it's been for fifteen years, ktelontour, partly being half-half German and partly feeling that beer makes the world go round (or at least the room after a good session) feel duty bound to big it up somewhat.

The post title refers to the purity requirement for German breweries that orders them only to use water, hops, barely-malt and yeast. No other ingredients are permitted and the law dates from 1516 which has given Germany a proud history of lagers, with some suggesting the Germans "makes some of the best beers on the planet".

Last year, some 10.40 billion litres were sold, down 2.7% on 2006, and whilst the German Brewers' Association blamed a rainy summer and the lack of a major sporting event (figures hit a high for the 2006 World Cup) to boost sales, the reasons are far more obvious.

Overall, regular customers are getting older and don't drink as much any more, and generally, Germans are more health-conscious. This is borne out by the figures for sales of soft drinks and for beer mixed with fruit juice*, which jumped 18.1% in 2007.

Germany has 1 300 breweries, including the claimed world's oldest, the Benedictine abbey Weihenstephan, which started brewing in 1040.




*An utterly gurly and quite foul habit, good for neither the juice or the beer.

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