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German Purity Law

Field of barley

The German Purity Law goes back to 23rd of April 1516 when in Ingolstadt, Bavaria, Dukes Wilhelm IV. and Ludwig X. issued such an ordinance. While first this only applied to Bavaria, later other states and principalities used it too and it has been the German Purity law since 1906. It is considered to be the oldest still applicable food law anywhere. This art of brewing celebrates its 500th anniversary this year. More than 1,300 breweries in Germany use only four ingredients to come up with a unique variety of beers. Amazing...

Hopfen an Stangen
Legal development

The German Purity Law is the legal culmination of many centuries of legal convergence. Authorities were always concerned with their population’s health, and beer, as their staple food, was to be made safer. Incidentally, such regulations can be traced back to the ancient world. And a Thuringian ordinance set forth as early as 1434 that beer may only be made from hops, malt and water. In Augsburg, they found an ordinance dated 1156 which said that if a brewer/landlord makes poor beer or defrauds his customers by serving to little he will be punished.

The text (English translation)

"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 Litre 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.”


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DLG gold medals
Our certificates

Eichbaum beer’s exceptional quality cannot only be told by its taste but also by its certificates. The Deutsche Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft e.V. (German Agricultural Society) DLG) is one of the most important food-rating organisations, whose beer tests attest to Eichbaum’s quality and its corporate culture. And the International Food Standard (IFS) annually confirms...

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Brewing Beer
All about brewing

Most important in brewing is the combination of tradition and technology. After all, beer has been produced from four ingredients in accordance with the German Purity Law for five centuries now: malt, hops, yeasts and water. The balance between traditional brewing and state-of-the art technology makes Eichbaum brew beer that is not only unique but also of top quality – a real market leader...

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History Eichbaum
Our history

Eichbaum was founded in 1679 as a small brewpub, and while the exact location changed, its domicile has always been Mannheim. Its traditional art of brewing in accordance with the German Purity Law dated 1516 guarantees Eichbaum beers’ top quality – since 1679.

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Visiting the Brewery
Visiting the brewery

Experience more than 335 years of brewing live! See how crystal-clear water and select regional ingredients are turned into prize-winning Eichbaum beer specialities. And conclude the 3h-tour with a nice little snack and two of your favourite beers from our historic cellar. Or check it out here and now on a virtual tour.

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