Reinheitsgebot: Purity Law for German Beer, 1516

Regulations on beer production and service adopted by the Bavarian “Landtag” in 1516. Dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig X published them as part of the “Landesordnung” (general law) that same year. Similar or identical arrangements have existed in the Thuringian, Franconian, and Bavarian communities since the beginning of the 14th century.

The regulations, insisting on high quality at a reasonable price, strengthened the competitiveness of beer and eventually replaced wine as a popular beverage. The German term “Reinheitsgebot” (purity law) first appeared in the 20th century. The Purity Law, which is still valid today for top and bottom-fermented beers fermented in Bavaria, is an important cornerstone of the self-image of the Bavarian beer industry.

Term

Today, the term “Reinheitsgebot” is associated first of all with the regulation on the brewing of beer that was introduced in the Duchy of Bavaria in 1516, literally “purity order”. This is the result of an awareness process that began in the second half of the 19th century and combined the terms Bavaria, beer, and purity law (1516) into one entity.

The Purity Law 1516 is probably the best-known purity law, but it is not the only one of the oldest. The term “Reinheitsgebot” is an early 20th-century invention. According to available information, it was first used by the government official Joseph Rheinboldt (1860-1931) from the imperial treasury in connection with a dispute over the legality of a particular brewing process at the Government Petitions Commission at the Reichstag in Berlin in 1909.

How to Pronounce Reinheitsgebot?

The correct way to pronounce “Reinheitsgebot” is “Rine Heights Ge-Boat”,

Origin, Content, and Control

The merging of the Wittelsbach founding duchies to form the Duchy of Bavaria-Munich and Bavaria-Landshut (1505/06) was accompanied by the search for legal standardization. At the Landtag in Ingolstadt in April 1516, Dukes Wilhelm IV (reigned 1508-1550) and Ludwig X (reigned 1514-1545), who co-ruled a comprehensive “Landesordnung” (general law) with the United States of Lower and Upper Bavaria.

In chapter four under the provisions on “Policey-Sachen” (public order issues), you will find what is probably the most famous result of the Landtag: “How to pour and brew beer in the country in summer and winter.” This is initially winter beer and summer beer or It is about setting a maximum price for “Mertzen-Bier” (ie “March beer”). But then the condition is as follows: “We also particularly want that for no beer brewed anywhere in our cities, market towns and in the countryside, anything else shall be taken and used but barley, hops, and water alone.” Karin Hackel-Stehr, these provisions ” It attributes its inclusion in the Landesordnung to the initiative of the cities. As commercial breweries in Landtag.

The decrees 1487 (Munich) and 1493 (Duchy of Bavaria-Landshut), also issued by the monarchs, can be considered directly as Old Bavarian models. The new 1516 decree should now apply to the unified Duchy of Bavaria and cover not only the cities but the entire countryside; a quantum leap in the domain. Above all, beyond the original purpose of serving the consumer, the enactment of a nationwide provision can be regarded as a further development step in the initial shaping process of the early modern regional state.

Further Development and Control

In 1533, the Duchy of Palatinate-Neuburg and the Upper Pfalz passed the same brewing regulations, passing the so-called Purity Law. Not only did the authorities’ regulations react to changes in consumer habits, they – and especially the statewide regulation in 1516 – also strengthened the competitiveness of beer so that it could finally replace wine as the main drink in the 16th century. This may also be due to the retreat of viticulture for climatic reasons, inflation for fine wine, and increased acceptance for simple wines.

The Law of Purity has faced a variety of challenges repeatedly over the next decades and centuries. As early as 1520, the revised version of the “Landesordnung” stated that in response to the brewers’ protests, the price of beer could be revised annually depending on the price of grain. Demands to allow brewers to repeatedly increase the price of beer are still being read. Additives also continued to be discussed. In a duchy decree of 1551, coriander and laurel were permitted, but other dangerous substances were banned. In 1553, ducal councilors even suggested adding herbs and spices to save on hops and barley during the brewing process.

Sites successfully disputed. They insisted on the necessity of pure purity for quality reasons. Other regulations were included in the “Polizeiordnung” (statute of public order) by Duke Maximilian I in 1616. This law renewed the Purity Law and explicitly penalized the addition of certain plants and seeds, including those mentioned by name. But in the future, the use of salt, juniper, and cumin seeds should be allowed when boiling in moderation. Thus, the Purity Law was at least amended, even though the state order in 1658 still only spoke of water, barley, and hops.

The 15th-century municipal purity laws mentioned above always had quality control mechanisms, eg. The city of Munich established a beer inspection commission in 1491. However, these measures were missing in the “Landesordnung” of 1516. The beer inspection in the Duchy of Bavaria was first held in 1530 and will later be found in all other state regulations. Numerous complaints about bad and harmful beer in the Early Modern Period show that this is necessary despite the Law of Purity.

On the other hand, in many southern German lands, this was reflected in a series of ceremonies in the 18th century demanding good and healthy beer at a reasonable price. The punishment of beer and innkeepers who offered undrinkable beer was punished, among other things, by publicly “knocking the bottom of the barrels” and pouring the drink into the alley.

The production of top-fermented wheat beer that emerged in the late 15th century was basically prohibited as wheat was used. However, two Lower Bavarian noble families were allowed to make wheat beer under the duke’s concession (1548, Degenberg, 1586, Schwarzenberg). After the Degenberg family died in 1602, Duke Maximilian I inherited the monopoly on wheat beer and turned the wheat beer brewing industry into a lucrative state-owned enterprise. Hofbrauhäuser (palace breweries) and Kommunbrauhäuser (municipal communal breweries) (for wheat beer and brown beer) became a symbol of the expansion of the beer and beer trade in the entire Bavarian region.

Regulations in the 19th and 20th Centuries

The Law of Purity is still enforced in the Kingdom of Bavaria, which, after the end of the Old Empire, now extends into Swabia and Franconia. However, this was first recorded in writing in 1861 in a recess of the Landtag that prohibited the use of substances other than hops for barley malt and brown beer. This purity requirement for beer was also supported by the Bavarian penal code, which penalized the addition of foreign and dangerous substances to food and beverages with up to two years in prison.

Legislation in the 19th century shifted primarily towards fiscal rather than food law goals. The 1811 regulation was aimed at protecting consumers from bad and above all expensive beer (determining the ratio of barley malt per brew in relation to the maximum price). However, it was aimed specifically to get a share of tax revenue from tax revenue for the Treasury from beer and profits for brewers. The Malt Consumption Act of 1868 also contained the essential provisions of the Purity Act, which required malt from barley to be used in brown beer production and prohibited malt substitutes.

A completely new, forward-looking direction emerged in the first discussions about this law. Concerned about additives and substitutes made possible by new chemical developments, politicians discussed the need to “prevent change and degeneration like a Bavarian beer.” This is the beginning of a development where beer brewed under the Purity Law is identified with Bavaria and also represents the country as a cultural asset worthy of protection.

The Bavarian Purity Act first survived the founding of the German Empire in 1871 with the rule of imperial law only to the extent that Bavaria was able to obtain a concession for its own malt or beer tax in the Empire’s constitution. Consequently, the Malt Consumption Act of 1868 continued to apply to Bavaria. In addition, the Imperial Court of Justice in Leipzig fully supported the Bavarian Purity Act in various decisions regarding the Bavarian beer adulteration scandals (1884). This was clearly and comprehensively fixed into the law by the 1910 amendment of the Bavarian Malt Surcharge Act. Article 2: “It is forbidden to use materials other than malt (kiln- and airdried), hops, yeast and water in the preparation of beer.”

At the imperial level, the Purity Act was first included in the “German Beer Tax Act” in 1906. This is how it entered the rest of the empire. However, since the purity requirement specified in the law applies only to bottom-fermented beer, coloration based on sugar and sugar remained permissible for top-fermented beer, Bavaria, and other southern German states (including Baden, Württemberg, and Saxony). Coburg) insisted on their reserved rights.

In the Weimar Republic, Bavaria joined the North German beer tax zone in 1919 under the Beer Tax Act of 26 July 1918; however, as an exception, Bavaria was able to achieve the continued validity of the purity requirement of both the bottom and top-fermented beer and even expand it to home breweries. In the relevant discussions in the Bavarian Landtag, the term “purity law” re-emerges prominently as a law that has always been sacred to the Bavarians. In 1924, the addition of sugar or sweeteners was explicitly banned in Bavaria.

This legal situation has not changed fundamentally since then. Regarding the regulations of 1918/19 and the Beer Tax Act of the Federal Republic of Germany 1952, Chapter 3 of the Durchführungsverordnung des Vorläufigen Biergesetzes (Provisional Beer Act Implementing Regulation), the absolute purity requirement. For this reason, Bavarian breweries are still prohibited from using sugar or coloring agents as additives to fermented beer. Despite violent protests that have resurfaced repeatedly since the 1950s, it was not possible to prevent the sale of beer not produced by the Bavarian Purity Act in Bavaria from northern Germany or Europe due to the priority given to the free movement of goods.

Deutsche Brauer-Bund (German Brewers Association) has been celebrating the “German Beer Day” on April 23 every year since 1994. The Purity Law, which is claimed to be the oldest ever-enforced food law in Germany.

Legal Text

The text of the Bavarian law 1516 (translated) is as follows:

From now on, we declare that the following rules apply for the sale of beer in the Duchy of Bavaria, cities, and marketplaces by the city official:

From Michaelmas to Georgi, a Mass [1,069 ml] or a Kopf [bowl-shaped container for liquids, not exactly a Mass] price should not exceed the value of a Pfennig Munich and

From Georgi to Michaelmas, to more than two Pfennig of the same value as mass, Kopf to more than three Heller [Heller usually half of Pfennig] will not be sold.

Failure to comply with this will result in the following penalty:

If anyone brews or otherwise drinks beer other than March beer, that beer will not be sold more than one Pfennig per Mass.

Moreover, we would like to emphasize that in the future the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer in all cities, market towns, and countries should be Barley, Hops, and Water. Whoever deliberately ignores or violates this decision, the confiscation of these barrels by the Court authorities will be punished without fail.

However, if an innkeeper in the country, city, or market town buys two or three buckets of beer and resells it to the common peasantry, he alone will be allowed to charge more than a Heller for the Kopf Rite. above. Also, if a shortage and subsequent price increase occur in barley (taking into account that harvest times differ due to location), the Duchy of Bavaria will be entitled to cuts for the sake of those concerned.

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