500 Years of the Reinheitsgebot

The text of the 1516 Bavarian law is as follows:

We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:

From Michaelmas to Georgi, the price for one Mass [Bavarian Liter 1,069] or one Kopf [bowl-shaped container for fluids, not quite one Mass], is not to exceed one Pfennig Munich value, and

From Georgi to Michaelmas, the Mass shall not be sold for more than two Pfennig of the same value, the Kopf not more than three Heller [Heller usually one-half Pfennig].

If this not be adhered to, the punishment stated below shall be administered.

Should any person brew, or otherwise have, other beer than March beer, it is not to be sold any higher than one Pfennig per Mass.

Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities' confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.

Should, however, an innkeeper in the country, city or markets buy two or three pails of beer (containing 60 Mass) and sell it again to the common peasantry, he alone shall be permitted to charge one Heller more for the Mass of the Kopf, than mentioned above. Furthermore, should there arise a scarcity and subsequent price increase of the barley (also considering that the times of harvest differ, due to location), WE, the Bavarian Duchy, shall have the right to order curtailments for the good of all concerned.

500 years ago, the Reinheitsgebot aka The Germany Purity Law, was put into place. According to the 1516 Bavarian law, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were barley, hops, and water. 

Besides the main purpose of brewing only the best quality of beer, another purpose of The German Purity Law was to ensure that bakers would be able to buy rye and wheat for an affordable price. By restricting brewers to barley, it eliminated the competition between bakers and brewers for wheat and rye. This allowed baker's to sell their bread at an affordable price. 

The law also set the price of beer, limited the profits made by innkeepers, and made confiscation the penalty for making impure beer. The Reinheitsgebot is the oldest food regulation in the world. 

On Saturday April, 23rd we celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot. To honor 500 years, Bierhaus NYC will be serving half liters for 500 pennies until 8pm. At 8pm we will be tapping a celebratory keg!