There are many terms you can use to describe the feeling and taste of a fresh German beer, but there is one word breweries can no longer use, and that is wholesome.
Clemens Härle Brewery had been using the term “bekömmliche” (“Wholesome) to advertise their beer as a means to reflect the high quality and taste of the brew, but regulators took the company to court for violating the Health Claims Regulation.
The EU law introduced in 2006 prohibits beverages with an alcohol volume over 1.2 percent from advertising any health benefits the drink may offer. When VSW, a private group that challenges businesses on unfair practices, came across the beer that was advertised as “wholesome”, they immediately brought the claim to court.
Despite the brewery’s argument that the word was used not to make health claims, but to reflect the taste and quality of the beer, it fell on deaf ears.
After a lower court decision ruled against the brewery, Clemens Härle challenged the ruling in a higher Stuttgart court, only to be handed the same verdict.
So keep that in mind the next time you reach for a fresh beer. It may taste refreshing, fill you up with joy and drown your sorrows, but whatever you do, do not call it wholesome.