The brewing industry is a sizeable branch of the German food production sector and therefore employs a significant part of the labor force. The quality and diversity among German beers is respected around the world. But these attributes are not all that characterize in the industry and contribute to its unique reputation in the world. Aside from working in German breweries where they produce distinctive beers, brewers, brewmasters and brewing engineers are also diligently engaged in the manufacture of equipment or in the processing of raw materials. Germany leads the world in education and advanced training in the field of brewing science and technology.

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In the past, brewing was exclusively done by women. Bread was generally baked on a one day in the week. Some of the loaves were not baked all the way through, and one of these was used as a starter culture for brewing beer. Once these loaves were mixed with water, the fermentation process began, in part spontaneously, with the help of some of the ambient microbes in the room. This is probably the origin of the phrase from the Grimm's fairytale Rumpelstiltskin: "Today I bake; tomorrow I'll brew, and the next I'll have the young queen’s child."

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Beer enthusiasts both in Germany and abroad are united in their appreciation for the term Reinheitsgebot. It is understood as a quality guarantee. Adopted in 1516, it is recorded as the oldest, currently valid consumer protection law in the world. Prior to becoming the law of the land in the Middle Ages, some very dubious ingredients were regularly mixed into beer, such as henbane, thorn-apple, wood shavings, roots, soot or even pitch. It didn’t really matter, as long as the appearance, flavor and the intoxicating effects were convincing enough.

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500 Years in 50 Seconds

One thing is for sure; beer is no longer brewed in Germany as it was in 1516. Pitch-lined wooden vats and open fires stoked under brew kettles are a rarity nowadays. Likewise, the chances of falling victim to an irresponsible journeyman brewer, who has flavored your beer with belladonna – otherwise known as deadly nightshade – is about as probable as being hit by a meteorite while sitting in a beer garden.

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German Brewers' Association

There are more that 1,350 breweries in Germany. We have them to thank for the great diversity of German beer culture and our outstanding reputation as a brewing nation. The Deutsche Brauer-Bund or German Brewers’ Association has been a reliable voice for German brewers since 1871 and serves as a representative for all the country’s brewers and breweries.

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The German brewing industry employs around 35,000 people in 1,350 breweries, both large and small, across the country. All of this activity is rooted in the Reinheitsgebot (the German purity law for beer), dating from the year 1516. German brewers’ products are one of the country’s national treasures and thus in many ways positively impact German society. Practically since time immemorial, German beer culture has proven to be a source of enjoyment for many.

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