The paper at hand contemplates the effect of a centuries-old national food safety standard on innovation in a globalizing market. To that end, the case of the German Beer Industry is analysed to explicate the relationship between a longstanding beer purity decree and brewing innovation. Over 500 years of existence the so-called “Reinheitsgebot”, now laid down in federal German law, has served to restrict variety and safeguard the quality of locally-produced beers. In turn, the standard prominently shaped the national image as well as consumer preferences across all regions in Germany. This research however demonstrates how this has overwhelmingly brought about adverse consequences for the international relevance of German beer in an increasingly globalised economy, which favours diversity in tastes. Due to changing consumption trends and the constricted innovative ability of German brewers, the findings inform government’s responsibility in standardisation for traditional consumer goods industries at a time of urgent need for action.
EURAS Proceedings 2018 – Standards for a Smarter Future
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Eble, P., & de Vries, H. (2018). How One of The World’s Oldest Food Safety Standards Approaches Expiration. In EURAS Proceedings 2018 – Standards for a Smarter Future (pp. 5–15). Retrieved from