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January 18, 2006

Reinheitsgebot meets animal rights

Reinheitsgebot meets animal rights in a brilliant advertising campaign for The Widmer Brothers brewing co.

Hat tip to Miscellaneous Heathen.


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The good news: Yes, the ads are funny.
The bad news: Widmer beers do not comply with the Reinheitsgebot. (they are also only so-so as craft beers go).

Note that Weitzen beers are inherently in violation as the cause of the law was to forbid brewers from competing for wheat with bakers. In modern parlance, however, the real capital crime is that Widmer beers use "adjuncts" like sugar in addition to grains and hops. It's like writing a 15 line poem and calling it a sonnet... Whether it's good poetry or not is beside the point... by failing to adhere to the strictures of the form, it's NOT a sonnet. Likewise, adding honey, sugar, fruit juices, etc. etc. may make a tasty alcoholic beverage but it's NOT BEER!!!!!

Just a beer snob :-)

I don't get it.

To me, the ad is a joke about relevant alternatives. It's logically possible that other beers might contain crazy additives like drowned kittens, but it's not the sort of thing anyone would actually worry about.

So it makes for a funny sales pitch that's really saying "Buy our beer, you KNOW ours is pure, but you never can tell what MIGHT be in those other brands."

It's a clever campaign, but if you're in Portland, stick with the McMennamin brews. Take in a movie, have a sandwich, and have a beer at the Bagdad Theater, or listen to music at the Barley Mill. The Grateful Dead section of the music menu just says, "Ask your server for the bootleg du jour."

The Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity law, only allows four ingredients to be used in brewing beer:

1 - Malted Barley
2 - Hops
3 - Yeast
4 - Kittens

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