German Beer Industry ‘Threatened by Fracking’
Anheuser-Busch InBev and other German brewers want Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to block any laws that would allow hydraulic fracturing, which, they say could contaminate water used to make beer and hurt the country’s brewing industry.
The Association of German Breweries, which represents Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bitburger Braugruppe and other companies say Germany’s fracking proposals don’t protect drinking water and may overstep the 500-year-old beer purity law, Bloomberg reports.
The “Reinheitsgebot,” or German purity law, mandates that brewers produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water, according to Reuters.
A beer association spokesman told Reuters that more than half of Germany’s brewers have their own wells on areas that would not be protected under the government’s planned fracking laws. He says the association wants the government to fund additional research and ensure chemicals won’t pollute the groundwater before it moves forward with any fracking legislation.
The €8 billion ($10 billion) German brewing industry employs more than 25,000 people, Bloomberg reports, and carries substantial political clout as fracking becomes an increasingly contentious issue leading up to Germany’s Sept. 22 election.
Merkel, who, according to media reports, drank from a 1-liter beer mug at a campaign stop earlier this month, has agreed on draft legislation that would outlaw fracking in some areas.
In the US, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company and 19 other craft brewers partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council last month to advocate for strong clean-water policies. The Brewers for Clean Water campaign aims to protect the multi-billion dollar industry’s No. 1 ingredient: water.
Earlier this month, a Duke University study of wells near shale gas drilling sites in Fayetteville, Ark. found no groundwater contamination. Low levels of methane found in samples were mostly from biological activity inside shallow aquifers, not from shale gas production contamination, scientists concluded.
Previous Duke studies of the effects of shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania found methane contamination in groundwater, but no signs of fracking fluids.
Photo Credit: Oktoberfest
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