Germany's brewers are pushing to have their amber treasure to be protected by the same UN agency that has safeguarded the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon and Egypt's pyramids.
"Thanks to our beer purity law, Germany has an unchallenged reputation as a beer nation," said Hans-Georg Eils, the president of the German Brewers Association.
The organization has applied for the country's beer purity law to be included on UNESCO's "intangible cultural heritage" list -- which recognizes practices which require "urgent measures to keep them alive." UNESCO is also responsible for designating World Heritage sites, a list of more than 900 landmarks seen having "outstanding universal value."
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The strict beer purity regulation rules -- known as the Reinheitsgebot -- allow only four ingredients to be used in the brewing process: water, malt, hops, and yeast. The rules were drafted by Bavarian dukes about 500 years ago and beer has been a serious business for Germans ever since.
The country boasts more than 1,300 breweries, more than 40 types of beer and about 5,000 brands. The latest statistics suggest the average German consumes more than 27 gallons of beer each year.
"The popularity of German beer in great parts from the brewing tradition," said Marc-Oliver Huhnholz, a spokesman for the German Brewers Association. "From just four ingredients, we can make so many different tasting brews, that is really a special craftsmanship."
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Germany's beer purity law has been adopted in neighboring Austria and Switzerland and is also adhered to elsewhere, such as the former colony of Namibia in southern Africa.