Germany bans beer ads that suggest it’s good for you


Beer cannot be marketed as beneficial, a German top court has ruled after a consumer rights group sued a brewery on the basis that it’s advertising falsely suggested health benefits.

The row with the Haerle brewery in the southern German town of Leutkirch began when a Berlin consumer protection group protested that use of the German word bekoemmlich carries connotations of health as well as tastiness.

The German federal court of justice upheld a lower court finding that the word could not be used in advertisement for beverages containing more than 1.2% alcohol.

The German court said bekoemmlich, which does not have a direct English translation but would be something akin to “wholesome”, described more than the taste of the beer.

“The term ‘bekoemmlich’ is understood by the relevant public to mean ‘healthy’, ‘beneficial’ and ‘digestible’,” the court said.

When used to describe food it means that the product is easily absorbed and tolerated by the digestive system even alongside long-term consumption, the court said, adding that beer sometimes did cause health problems.

Once the world’s largest beer consumer and famed for its annual Oktoberfest beer festival, Germany’s consumption has dropped 17% since 1993, but brewers hope the soccer World Cup which starts next month could drive a return to growth.


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