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A German lass downs a hefty stein of the nation's famous beer.  (Source: Getty Images)
Over half of brewers have wells outside of protected region, fear contamination

Much like in America, Germany's "big oil" interests are clashing with other groups over controversial plans to "frack" the countryside -- injecting a slush of water and or chemicals at extreme pressures and temperatures into underground oil deposits to extract "black gold".  In Germany, much of the backlash against the process is coming from the nation's venerable beer industry, which is the largest in the European Union.

Germany is home to 1,300 breweries producing over 5,000 varieties of the beloved potable.  Renowned worldwide, Germany's beer is held to high standards, thanks to the nation's "purity" laws ("Reinheitsgebot"), which mandate only malt, hops, yeast and water be used in the brewing process.

The German government -- led by Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition of the right and moderate factions -- is under pressure to embrace fracking and open up some of the nation's bountiful oil shale deposits for extraction.  In response, her coalition is looking to put forth a law in Germany's Parliament which would allow fracking in some parts of Germany while prohibiting in regions where it could create the worst seismological or contamination concerns.

But the Brauer-Bund beer association -- the organization that represents the nation's brewers -- is pushing back, complaining that half of brewers use ground-water wells in regions unprotected by the legislation.  They argue evidence shows these wells could be contaminated, fouling the beer and marring an industry worth billions to the German economy.

German brewers fear fracking could foul ground water, damaging the beer industry.
[Image Source: Al Greenberg]

A spokesperson for the organizations tells the UK's Telegraph, "The water has to be pure and more than half Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking.  You cannot be sure that the water won't be polluted by chemicals so we have urged the government to carry out more research before it goes ahead with a fracking law."

The brewers may catch a break.  The minority opposition -- led by Chancellor Merkel's critics on the left -- is moving to block the bill, effectively stalling the attempt to open the shales to fracking.  Whether or not the issue reemerges thus largely boils down to who emerges victorious in September's elections -- but Germany's brewers want their letter to make clear why they're concerned.

The brewers hope that when Oktoberfest -- the world's largest beer festival, attended by 7 million visitors -- is held in Munich this fall, people will be worry about taste, not contamination.

Source: Telegraph

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RE: Untrue
By cyberguyz on 5/28/2013 7:31:21 AM , Rating: 0
As they say they need pure water for their brewing, there are a bazillion ways to purify the water.

Their gripe is that they will actually need to do what they say they are doing -- and that is to make sure the water they use IS pure.

Wah, Wah, Wah, Boo Hoo!

No more getting away with brewing Heineken from from filtered cow piss. They are going to have to do their own water distilling and filtering.

RE: Untrue
By DerMack on 5/28/2013 9:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't knew they brewed heineken in germany, heineken being dutch and all...

anyways purified water isnt as good as naturally pure ground water which probably has some minerals in it..

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 9:41:45 AM , Rating: 2
Purified water is not good for you in general unless your only other choice is non potable water. Unpolluted ground water is the best water you can use. It actually taste good too.

RE: Untrue
By Donkey2008 on 5/28/2013 3:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
"Purified water is not good for you in general"

THAT is the biggest load of crap ever.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/28/2013 3:23:00 PM , Rating: 2
You are the biggest load of uneducated crap ever

RE: Untrue
By Donkey2008 on 5/28/2013 4:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think your statement on purified water tells me all I need to know about your education level. Yet another clueless wonder spreading BS across the internet.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 7:45:24 AM , Rating: 1
Besides being clean, please tell me one good thing about purified water as opposed to natural unpolluted water with minerals your body needs.

Visit your doctor and ask them if you should drink purified water every day as opposed to good natural water. Boiled tap water is tons better than purified water. Please go back to school or visit a doctor to confirm this. You are probably too dumb and butt hurt even if doctor walks up to you to tell you otherwise.

RE: Untrue
By Paj on 5/29/2013 8:15:44 AM , Rating: 2
Natural ground/spring water contains essential minerals that the body needs.

Next time you get a bottle of spring water, you can see the mineral composition on the side. All of these minerals are important for normal body processes.

Purified water is simply H20, without any of these naturally occurring minerals. Hence, it is not as 'good' for you.

RE: Untrue
By Solandri on 5/28/2013 6:05:53 PM , Rating: 2
"Purified water is not good for you in general"

THAT is the biggest load of crap ever.

Actually he's partly correct. There are some trace minerals your body needs which are normally found in groundwater. Extremely purified water like distilled or reverse osmosis filtered removes these minerals. If you've ever seen the multiple filter packs on a home RO system, only one of those packs is the RO filter. The others are there to add minerals back into the water.

For commercial RO filters (used on many islands to generate fresh water) the main reason is actually to protect plumbing. RO filtered water is so pure, it has a high affinity to dissolve materials and will leech metals right out of the pipes. Adding minerals back in acts sort of like a water softener, and reduces the water's penchant to dissolve plumbing.

Unfortunately, some people have taken that to mean drinking RO/distilled water will leech minerals out of your bones. Of course it won't - by the time the water reaches your bones it's been mixed with all sorts of other bodily fluids which reduces its affinity for minerals. But it is true that groundwater carries some minerals your body needs. That's why distilled water tastes a little funny, while certain spring waters taste really good. (I like VOSS and Fiji myself, Poland Springs is really good too. Though I really wish they'd analyze this stuff to figure out exactly what mineral composition makes them taste so good, instead of shipping the stuff halfway around the world.) The extra filter packs in your kitchen RO filter add minerals in to improve the taste.

RE: Untrue
By BRB29 on 5/29/2013 8:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that pure water may cause damage to your cells.

The best and cheapest water you can get is boiled tap water. Depending on where you live, tap water can taste much better than anything you can buy. Some counties put fluoride in it to help your teeth also.

RE: Untrue
By DerMack on 5/28/2013 9:45:10 AM , Rating: 2
had to check, and at least according to wiki heineken doesnt have breweries in germany, they do have breweries all over europe but not in germany. Could it be because of that purity law...

RE: Untrue
By Motoman on 5/28/2013 10:29:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that Heineken has always been a Dutch company, never a German company.

RE: Untrue
By Iaiken on 5/28/2013 3:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't knew they brewed Heineken in Germany, Heineken being dutch and all...

Well then I bet you didn't know that the following are brewed under contract in Canada by either Molson or Labatt before being "imported" to the US market:


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