Namibia Breweries Limited officially kicked off its celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Beer Purity Law of 1516, the Reinheitsgebot, at a special event at the old breweries in Tal Street – now the Warehouse – on Saturday, 23 April.
NBL celebrated this old age tradition in every way possible, from a three-course meal by Chef Christie Keulder incorporating different NBL beers and beer ingredients in the dishes, to an exciting display of the NBL story and its relationship with the Reinheitsgebot, accompanied by entertainment from original musicians, such as Big Ben and the Roadhouse Blues Band, to compliment the authenticity celebrated.
Some of the special guests included the German and EU Ambassadors, NBL suppliers, customers, other stakeholders and representatives of the media fraternity. O&L Executive Chairman, Sven Thieme delivered the keynote address and highlighted NBL’s commitment to the Reinheitsgebot.
Thieme said: “In 1920, passionate German brewers brewed beer fit for the dry hot Namibian climate, using only the best ingredients. In fact, they were so passionate about only the best ingredients that when during the second world war, good ingredients were scarce, they decided to close the brewery for a couple of months, because they refused to brew with anything but the best.
“While those brewers are no longer here – the passion has remained. Today, Namibian brewers – as diverse as Namibia herself – trained for three years in Namibia before undergoing an intensive nine-month training and certification in Germany, brew pure beer according to the age-old tradition of the Reinheitsgebot. This is not the cheapest way of brewing, nor is it easy but it is true to our value ‘Naturally Today for Tomorrow’, which not only speaks to our sustainability agenda, but our commitment to natural goodness.”
NBL managing director Wessie van der Westhuizen said: “Until quite recently, NBL was the only commercial brewery in sub-Saharan Africa upholding this strict brewing tradition. I am, therefore, pleased to welcome you all to a celebration of our proud history and heritage. What makes this even more special is that while we look back at our history, we realise that our amazing relationships over the years with special partners, is a key ingredient to our success.”
One of the highlights of the evening was a presentation by Dutch historian Tycho van der Hoog. He presented his findings on his research on the origin of Namibian beer and left the audience in awe. A special pop-up museum, which tells the NBL story and its relationship with the Reinheitsgebot, provided guests with information many described as “fascinating”. NBL head brewer Christian Müller made use of the opportunity to teach guests how to pour the perfect beer.
O&L Group manager for procurement and member of the RHG 500-year celebrations committee Christin Obst said: “Although Saturday night’s event was the ultimate birthday bash, as the Reinheitsgebot was introduced on 23 April 500 years ago, we still have an exciting line-up of activities for the rest of the year, which will provide NBL consumers and the general public the opportunity to participate in the celebrations.”
The traditional Xwama restaurant in Wanaheda, Katutura, will be one of the venues for upcoming activities, which include special food pairings during May and June. The pop-up museum will be at the Namibia Tourism Expo from May 19 to 21. Other activities include celebrations at Strand Hotel Swakopmund during the month of May, with special meal and beer pairings. Beer festivals are also scheduled for Windhoek on September 23 and in the north on November 18.