As the only large scale commercial brewery in sub-Saharan Africa that brews in accordance with the Beer Purity Law of 1516, popularly known as the Reinheitsgebot, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) joins the rest of the world in celebration of the 500-year anniversary of this beer tradition.
The Reinheitsgebot, which is celebrated by participating breweries across the world, will also be celebrated in Namibia with activities initiated by NBL commencing on April 23, the birthday of the Reinheitsgebot.
The Reinheitsgebot – a beer brewing philosophy whereby only malted barley, hops and water may be used as ingredients, was introduced five centuries ago to protect consumers from beer that often contained additives that could be toxic or poisonous, such as mushrooms, stinging nettle and henbane to name a few.
Interestingly, it was also introduced in part to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye. The restriction of grains to barley ensured the availability of affordable bread, as wheat and rye were reserved for use by bakers.
“We believe in brewing beer naturally, even if it means the process is not cheap and more complex. It is for the consumer’s benefit that we brew in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot – to give them only the best. We are convinced that beer lovers appreciate and taste the difference,” said NBL managing director Wessie van der Westhuizen.
NBL national marketing manager Rosemary Shippiki stressed that Namibia has many reasons to join in the celebration of the 500-year Reinheitsgebot anniversary, stating that NBL, as a proudly Namibian company, is rated as one of the leading brewers in the world, and has earned numerous awards for its high and consistent quality and superior tasting beers.
“Namibia is a leader, not only in Africa, but also on the global front, and has won numerous awards for its quality beers brewed with passion according to the Reinheitsgebot. Back in the day, South West Breweries hired international beer experts from Germany to test the beer, just to make sure it really adhered to the Reinheitsgebot. NBL continues with this practice to this day, whereby at least twice a year, the brewing process is carefully monitored and evaluated by an internationally qualified beer expert.
Furthermore, NBL beers participate in the Deutsche Landwirtschafts Gesellschaft (DLG) Quality Evaluation which is only applicable to Reinheitsgebot beers. All of this is aimed at making sure we give our consumer nothing but the highest quality – a beer brewed the way beer should be brewed.” Shippiki concluded.
NBL head brewer Christian Müller said: “We’re extremely proud that we uphold the tradition established in 1516 and brew according to the Reinheitsgebot. We believe this is the only way to brew a pure beer. It is not an easy task, but NBL chooses not to compromise on quality. We use only the best quality ingredients and NBL imports all its malted barley (it contains natural enzymes not present in maize or rice) and hops from suppliers in Europe.
“Rigorous quality controls and supplier approval procedures are in place to ensure standards are adhered to at all times. Our raw materials are regularly quality tested at accredited laboratories in Europe before being shipped to Namibia. Ultimately, it is the combination of excellent quality raw materials and brewing equipment, as well as the craftsmanship of our German-trained master brewers that provides the guarantee that you get the best beer possible.”