Belgian beer has World Heritage status, Bavarian does not. The association "Bier und Wir" has made it its mission to change that. It won't be easy.
Munich (dpa / lby) - There is a new attempt to make Bavarian beer a World Heritage Site. The association "Bier und Wir" wants to initiate a corresponding application, as the chairman Armin Gastl explained on Wednesday in Munich. Specifically, it is about bringing the concept of "Bierland Bayern" to the list of intangible world cultural heritage.
Gastl said they were well aware of the size of the task. "We have made a big board." It was clear to him: "It will be a marathon." He therefore does not expect results within one, two or three years, that would be "naive".
The association is hoping for support from its patron, the Bavarian Minister for Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger (free voters). Although he was unable to attend the event because of his corona disease, he said: "Bavarian beer not only stands for tradition, enjoyment, quality and joie de vivre here in Bavaria, but also internationally." The Bavarian beer culture is characterized by enormous diversity and is an economic factor: "With 640 companies, 42 percent of all German breweries are in Bavaria. That's why I also welcome the association's plan to have the term "Bierland Bavaria" declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO ."
It is not the first attempt to make Bavarian beer a World Heritage Site. "As the Bavarian Brewers' Association, we have also fought for many years to make the Bavarian Purity Law a World Heritage Site - unfortunately in vain," said Brewers' Association General Manager Lothar Ebbertz of the German Press Agency. In the end, however, it wasn't quite enough for the international stage. Ultimately, according to Ebbertz, the Bavarian brewing tradition according to the Purity Law was added to the Bavarian list of intangible cultural heritage in 2014, as well as the Upper Palatinate Zoigl culture in 2018 and finally artisanal beer brewing in 2020.
"Becoming a World Heritage Site is rather difficult," said Ebbertz. Perhaps, he thinks, it would be easier if national authorities would support such initiatives with a little more pride.
The Brauerbund is generally positive about the current launch of "Bier und Wir". We welcome "any initiative that contributes to promoting Bavarian beer as a special part of the Bavarian way of life," he said. "The move is honorable. We're following it with great interest."
Regardless of the challenge, "Bier und Wir" is optimistic. And in case of doubt, one would probably be satisfied with an entry at national level. You have to see how far you can get, said Gastl. According to President Horst Wurm, the association currently has around 200 members. He names 5,000 as a goal. If you can't mobilize them, you've lost.
One of the founding members is chef Alfons Schuhbeck. One can be proud that there is good beer everywhere in Bavaria, he emphasized. "Maybe we're not that good at carnival, but we're unbeatable in the beer garden."