According to new research, Germany’s beer purity law is losing its relevance among young Germans as the popularity of imported beers grows.
More than 60% of the over-60 demographic said that the Reinheitsgebot, which defines which ingredients can be used in the beer making process in Germany, was “very important” in their buying behaviour. In contrast, only 25% of those aged 30 or younger agreed. K&A BrandResearch, which carried out the study in collaboration with Respondi, argued that this showed that the beer purity law’s significance was decreasing every year.
At the same time, the findings showed that older generations were more likely to agree with the sentiment that German beers were better than foreign-made beers because of the purity law. This view dwindles among younger generations, K&A BrandResearch said, which coincides with the increasing population of import beers among under-30s.
The Reinheitsgebot was first introduced in Bavaria in 1516 and was designed to regulate the ingredients in beer and even at what price it could be sold. In this latest research, 38% of beer drinkers said that the idea of the law was “very attractive” and support for it appears to be generally declining.
If consumers were informed of its full contents, the Reinheitsgebot would be a far less recognisable yardstick for beer, K&A BrandResearch argued. Its critics say that the quality of German-made beer is increasingly driven by brewers’ techniques and expertise, and not by regulation.
Presenting the results of the survey, Dr Uwe Lebok and Marco Gromer said: “If there were only a minor number of different brands of beer, [the beer purity law] would certainly be an important and differentiating selling point. However, in Germany there are too many beer producers, who all follow along the same lines learned through several generations.
“Perhaps 2016, after festivities of the 500th year of the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot, will be the year that Germany’s dogmatic barriers will fall. Firstly, because German brewers are also looking for variety and secondly because the Reinheitsgebot is of less and less significance for younger beer drinkers. It would also signify opportunities for new developments within the domestic beer market. But also for foreign brewers to conquer the German market.”
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