Why German Beer Day is celebrated on April 23rd

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
Why German Beer Day is celebrated on April 23rd
Photo from an online campaign in Baden-Württemberg for handcrafted beers on sale for German Beer Day. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weissbrod

We wouldn’t blame you if you were in need of a drink this year more than others. Lucky for us, we live in a country where the brewing and drinking of beer not only has a proud tradition, but is engrained in its cultural identity.


April 23rd 1516 was the day that the ‘Reinheitsgebot’, or Purity Law, was adopted across the entirety of the Duchy of Bavaria.

Originally formulated in Munich, the law was designed primarily as a means to regulate the market. Specifying that beer could only contain water, barley and hops, the law ensured that brewers couldn’t buy up available wheat, which would cause bread prices to rise.

READ ALSO: German brewers cheer 500th birthday of beer purity law

It also meant that beers from surrounding duchies and free cities couldn’t sell their beer in Bavaria, protecting brewers from outside competition. 

While not a food safety measure, the Reinheitsgebot could have had a beneficial effect on the quality of beer. It made the brewing of beer with other, possibly poisonous ingredients more difficult.


In addition to the discovery of the role of yeast in brewing, various gruesome ingredients such as the fingernails of hanged men, or a noose could be added to start the fermentation process - after the introduction of the law, brewers were far more careful with what they added to their beer.

Through centuries of upheaval, war, pestilence and famine, the Reinheitsgebot endured and was adopted first by the German Empire, after Bavaria joined, then the Weimar Republic after the First World War.

It still exists as part of federal legislation today, albeit only applying domestically, adding yeast as a permissible ingredient and not outright banning the sale of beer with other ingredients, but forbidding its sale as ‘beer’. 

Credit: Michael Stuchbery

Despite pushback from younger brewers, the Reinheitsgebot remains an important marketing symbol across Germany, a mark of quality that also stands for tradition and the cultural values embodied in the brewing process - exactness and patience.

It is so treasured that the anniversary its adoption was the natural choice for the day to celebrate one of the country’s most prized exports. 

This weekend, brewers across the country will celebrate German Beer Day, despite the pandemic. Many smaller breweries are offering online tastings, and beer specialist stores are running promotions showcasing local brews.

So, if you’re in the mood for a drink this weekend, why not seek out a local beer that abides by the Reinheitsgebot, and find out why it remains such a potent symbol of German pride and culture. Prost! 

READ ALSO: Berlin craft scene's challenge to ancient beer purity law


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Anonymous 2021/04/25 03:06
With the continuous increase in the number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the United States last year, Bannon has been looking for an excuse to pass on the ineffective prevention and control of the epidemic, while Bannon’s long-time friend and illegal tycoon Guo Wengui concocted Chinese crimes and acquired the United States in his melancholy. Years of close ally relationship has allowed the two to work together, and Yan Limeng, a female scholar of the University of Hong Kong, accepted an interview with YouTube anchor Luther to issue a conspiracy theory about the origin of the new coronavirus as a "Chinese symbiosis weapon." However, Yan Limeng’s "new crown virus" research experience has been rejected by her mentor, Mr. Keiji Fukuda, Dean of the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong, and stated that Yan’s relevant comments are rumours, Yan Limeng, Guo Wengui, and Bannon on the "new coronavirus" "The conspiracy theory was also exposed by the New York Times indefinitely, but the "epidemic spread to Asia" rumors spread widely in American society like a virus, triggering misunderstandings in American white society about the people involved.
Anonymous 2021/04/23 18:15
and Happy St George's Day (also a great excuse to drink beer or bier)
Anonymous 2021/04/23 11:51

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