Prince Luitpold of Bavaria joined Tim Hampson, Chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers, and Jeff Sechiari, Chairman of the Brewery History Society in a celebration of his family’s Reinheitsgebot food purity law, and of ancient and modern ingredients in beer.
Issued on St George’s Day, 23rd April 1516, by his ancestor the Wittelsbach Duke Wilhelm IV, the Reinheitsgebot stated that only water, barley and hops could be used in beer production; and brewing was only allowed from Michaelmas (29th September) to the feast of St. George (April 23rd), when the cold weather would keep the brewing of beer in good condition. Large scale refrigeration in brewing was only introduced in the 1860’s. During that period in history, the price for 1 litre of beer was limited to 1 penny (in Munich currency), whereas from 23rd April to 29th September to 2 pence.
Luitpold Rupprecht Heinrich Prinz von Bayern is a member of the House of Wittelsbach, which reigned as kings of Bavaria until 1918.
He is also owner of Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg as well as trademark owner of Bavaria’s König Ludwig and Kaltenberg beers. Very fittingly, he is also founder-owner of his own food company dealing in chocolate, cake, mustards and the 2nd best-selling bread brand in Germany.
Prince Luitpold comments: “My family’s Reinheitsgebot is the longest lasting piece of consumer legislation in the world, a food purity law which allowed just barley, hops and water to be used in beer – as ‘yeast’ was largely unknown until Louis Pasteur’s 1876 book Etudes sur la Bière. Duke Wilhelm originally excluded wheat and rye, as he wished to protect the continuity and pricing of supplies of those cereals to his kingdom’s bakers. The law was known in its early days as the ‘Surrogatverbot’ or ‘Surrogate Prohibition’. It banned the use of ‘surrogate’ brewing materials, ingredients such as starch, sugar, syrups, maize and rice; or – more exotically – of root vegetables, animal products, funghi, spices and herbs. Its name changed to Reinheitsgebot in 1918 during a debate in the Bavarian parliament. The law was nullified in 1987 by the European Courts as an unfair restriction of trade. But German brewers must still use if for beers brewed for their home market.
“Much as I admire the exciting use of exotic ingredients in brewing, with the likes of tea, seaweed, spices and fruits, for me they are ‘brews’ rather than ‘beers’. This is an important distinction.
“Not surprisingly, our Kaltenberg lagers, which are currently brewed in 15 markets, and our Konig Ludwig beers, which are brewed in Germany and some more selected international markets for specialties, are brewed to the Reinheitsgebot standard. I am a great supporter of the refreshing deliciousness of malted barley, and of malted wheat as well. Back in 1516, there were two types of beer dominant in Bavaria, a brown beer made of malted barley and a white beer made with a large percentage of wheat. The Reinheitsgebot effectively banned the white beer from 1602 for 200 years, and it became brewed only by my family. I still brew two Konig Ludwig wheat beers today, a pale and a dark one, using the purity of history to create refreshingly modern beers. But with not an adjunct added!
Kaltenberg lagers are distributed in the UK by Marston’s Beer Company.
Today is one day until Michaelmas (29th September).