German Beer Purity Threatened by Fracking Say Brewers

on 23/05/13 at 3:54 pm

Booze News

imagesGerman brewers called on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to block the tapping of shale gas by means of hydraulic fracturing, citing industry concerns that fracking could taint the purity of the country’s beer.

The Association of German Breweries, which represents companies including Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI) (ABI) and Bitburger Braugruppe GmbH, rejected the government’s planned legislation on fracking until groundwater contamination can be safely excluded. They said the current proposals are inadequate to protect drinking water and hence risk infringing the country’s 500-year-old law on beer purity.

“We are concerned that fracking endangers the brewing water that more than half of Germany’s breweries take from private wells,” Marc-Oliver Huhnholz, a spokesman for the group, said today by phone from Berlin. “And that it threatens our absolutely pure beer.” The association has sent a letter voicing its concerns to six Cabinet ministers including Environment Minister Peter Altmaier, he said, confirming a report in Bild newspaper today.

Fracking, which is already politically and environmentally contentious in Germany as federal elections loom on Sept. 22, has attracted a powerful opponent in the country’s brewers, which together employ more than 25,000 people in an industry with sales of about 8 billion euros ($10 billion) last year.

 

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