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Germany is pushing for the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO to recognize a beer “purity” law that has been in place since the 1500s and place it on the “intangible cultural heritage list.”
The law is known as Reinheitsgebot in German and has regulated the rules on making beer in Bavaria since 1516 and became a nationwide law in 1906, according to the AFP. Beer can only be made using just water, malt, hops and yeast, according to the law, and bars flavorings.
“If Germany is still regarded as the undisputed beer nation, that is due to the Reinheitsgebot,” German Brewers Federation president Hans-Georg Eils said. Getting recognized by UNESCO “would be for German brewers and maltsters a sign of appreciation and an incentive at the same time.”
According to its supporters, the law is the oldest food regulation in the world.
UNESCO has recognized many cultural traditions from around the world on its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. According to the BBC, these include the French gastronomic meal, the Argentine tango, Spanish flamenco, carpet weaving in Iran.
Beer is still a key part of German life, as the country is still Europe’s biggest beer producer. Munich hosts the 16-day Oktoberfest, which began in 1810 and drew 6.4 million visitors last year.