Will fracking ruin German beer industry?

The German beer industry is worried that natural gas extraction could ruin the purity of German beer.

Germans are increasingly turning to imported beers like the craft beers coming out of the United States. But the German beer industry has a bigger problem: the natural gas industry.

More specifically, The Brauer-Bund beer association in Germany, believes that the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- used to extract natural gas by pumping water and chemicals deep into the ground under high pressure -- could ruin Germany's proud industry.

Why would that have an especially big impact on German beer? The Telegraph reports:

Under the "Reinheitsgebot", or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water.

"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," he added.

"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," said a Brauer-Bund spokesman.

Legislation is being discussed that would provide permits for shale gas production, allowing the industry to tap into reserves that would meet demand for 20 years. But, as The Telegraph points out, because of strong opposition from important parties, like the beer industry, don't expect a decision to be made on the fracking law until after elections in September.

Fracking could ruin German beer industry, brewers tell Angela Merkel [The Telegraph]

Photo: Flickr/Simon Greig

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com


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