Purity of beer ‘threatened’ by fracking

27th January, 2014 by Lauren Eads

German brewers have called on Angela Merkel’s government to block plans to “frack” shale gas reserves over concerns it could taint the purity of the country’s beer.

Fracking-Threatens-Quality-of-German-BeerAccording to a report by Bloomberg, The Association of German Breweries (AGB), which represents companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and Bitburger, has spoken out against proposed legislation to carry out fracking of the country’s shale reserves to release gas.

Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.

The AGB has said the proposals do not protect drinking water and could overstep the country’s 500-year-old law on beer purity and have called for the legislation to be postponed until it can  be proven the practice would not contaminate the country’s groundwater.

Speaking to Bloomberg Marc-Oliver Huhnholz, a spokesman for AGB, said: “We are concerned that fracking endangers the brewing water that more than half of Germany’s breweries take from private wells, and that it threatens our absolutely pure beer.”

Germany has been subject to a “purity law” on its water since 1516 instigated by Duke Wilhelm IV in the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt.

The law states that only malted barley, hops and water may go into beer, with the later addition of yeast, which had not yet been discovered at the time.

The association has sent a letter to six cabinet ministers, including environment minister Peter Altmaier, voicing its concerns.

Merkel has agreed on draft legislation in her coalition that would outlaw fracking in some areas, but it is not clear if a law can be passed before the election.

Social Democrats in Germany are calling for a temporary ban on the practice while the Green party want to outlaw it altogether.

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