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German brewers stress health benefits to boost sales

15-May-2002

A glass of beer is one of the best ways to keep your body healthy, at least according to the German Brewers' Federation.

The decision to promote beer as a nutritious beverage has as much to do with reviving the fortunes of the flagging German beer industry as it does with a desire to improve the health and well-being of consumers, but Federation head Peter Hahn said that the brewers were taking a leaf out the red wine book.

Evidence that the polyphenols in red wine can help protect against cardiovascular and other diseases has helped drive sales of wine the world over, and the brewers are now hoping that the nutritious benefits of hops and malt - the main ingredients in beer - can help them increase sales of beer.

Something certainly has to be done to stop the decline in German beer consumption, which has been in an almost permanent downward spiral for several years. Hahn told a news conference that per capita consumption of beer in Germany last year was 123 litres, compared to 147 litres ten years ago.

He said that the fitness fad, and an increasing penchant for energy drinks among young consumers, was to blame for the decline.

"There are a lot of health benefits in malt and hops," said Hahn, adding that moderate beer consumption, about half a litre a day for men, could help reduce the risk of strokes and lower cholesterol levels. He added that the hops in the beer also helped prevent cancer, while there was also clear scientific evidence to show that beer could help fight osteoporosis and lower the risk of dementia.

Good news for all of us who feel guilty about going to the pub after work instead of the gym!

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