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The New York Times yesterday took note of the 500th birthday of Germany's beer purity law, described by a historian as "the oldest law still in force anywhere in the world regulating a consumed product," essentially decreeing that only hops, water and barley should go into beer ... though yeast was added to the list of permissible ingredients in the 17th century.

However, like many institutions around the world, the law is under attack from people who say that it is more marketing ploy than reasonable legislation, and that "it has stifled invention and imagination." But change is tough for such an entrenched industry - there are, in fact, about 1,250 breweries in Germany.

There about to be one more, because San Diego's Stone Brewing is opening one near Berlin, and founder Greg Koch is hoping that locals will embrace his beer - though Koch cannot call his beer "German beer," even though it is made there, because it does not meet the legal standard. Koch reportedly is betting $25 million that he'll be successful.

You can read the entire story here.
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