The German brewing industry is known for its adherence to tradition, including its 500-year-old beer purity law, but one brewer is determined to shake up the industry and the world with powdered beer.
Stefan Fritsche of the Neuzelle Kloster Brewery in eastern Germany says his product would mean that "Everyone can have their own home brewery." He also pushes his idea as "sustainable" because, he says, 70% of the environmental impact of a litre of beer comes from packaging and shipping in glass bottles and kegs, while his powder can be packaged in paper and is immensely lighter.
However, the purity law, known as the Reinheitsgebot, limits beer ingredients to only malt, hops, yeast and water. Fritsche won't, at least for now, reveal his recipe, so it isn't clear whether it could be marketed as beer, at least in Germany. So far, he's come up with a non-carbonated non-alcoholic version, but is working on an alcoholic product and says bubbles could be added.
A large brewers' organization in Germany, Bier Und Wir, doubts there's a real market for the powder, saying "The enjoyment of beer is primarily about conviviality, as it is enjoyed in pubs, in your local, at a party or among friends and like-minded people... A beer powder whose use focuses on preparation at home is not a serious alternative for this target group."