Definition of Beer

In the Journal of the Institute of Brewing – March, 1921, this article appeared:

Definition of Beer                 

The German Patent Office has refused to register the term nonalcoholic beer, accepting as correct the following definition of the “Scientific Station for Brewing in Berlin.” :-

“The characteristic feature of beer is that it enables the consumption of a moderate amount of alcohol and other stimulating products of fermentation in palatable and wholesome form, conditioned in part by the extractive matters (dextrin, sugar,etc.), and for the other part by the hop constituents, and the presence of carbonic acid generated by fermentation and retained probably in a peculiar form.  If one of those constituents of beer is eliminated, the beverage loses its character and peculiar nature of beer.  This is true particularly of the alcohol in beer, and the stimulating effect it has when taken under normal circumstances.  A product which either is made from the same materials as beer, but remains in the state of the half-finished product called wort, or is obtained from finished beer by distilling off the alcohol, cannot be designated by the name beer.  

The designation, ‘non-alcoholic beer,’ for which legal sanction is sought, could have no other object than to profit from the fact that it is a non-alcoholic beverage, to the prejudice of real beer, which is alcoholic, by being represented to the public as a harmless beer, in contradistinction to, injurious alcoholic beer!  It is manifest that such a practice would be improper competition with beer and the brewing trade, which represents an economically highly developed industry, and it therefore appears imperative to prevent at the outset such misuse of the term ‘non-alcoholic beer,’ which is really an illogical term.”

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