The German Brewers Association has asked for the United Nations to recognize a law from 1516 that says beer should only include three ingredients: hops, barley, and water. The brewers want to add Germany’s beer purity law to UNESCO’s World Heritage list, which includes cultural hallmarks like the Argentinian tango and Iranian carpet weaving, according to NPR.
The law was originally created to keep crops that could be used to make bread from being squandered on brewing, but it has since come to define what Germans consider high quality beer. More than 5,000 beers currently carry the purity law seal.
Not all German brewers are on board with the purity law, however. Those making more modern beers (barrel aging, fruit, coffee…) claim recognizing the law would limit creativity in the German beer market.
The UNESCO evaluation process takes two years, so there’s plenty of time to debate the merits of the law. Proponents hope the German Beer Purity Law could become a part of the World Heritage list by 2016, the 500th birthday of the law.