A German court has ruled that a brewery cannot use the word "wholesome" to advertise beer. It found the term, used on three brews, violated EU laws on health claims.
The centuries-old Clemens Härle Brewery in the southern town of Leutkirch can no longer advertise its beer as "wholesome," a German regional court ruled on Thursday, saying that the term implied health-related benefits.
According to the Stuttgart court's decision, using the term "wholesome" to describe beer violates an EU law from 2006 - the so-called Health Claims Regulation - that prohibits any drink with an alcohol volume content above 1.2 percent from claiming any health benefits.
The brewery had argued the term "wholesome" reflected the taste and quality of the beer, not any specific health claims. The German word "bekömmlich" used to advertise the beer can mean "wholesome," "digestible" or "beneficial," depending on context.
The case dates back to 2015, when the Berlin-based VSW, a private organization that deals with unfair business practices, challenged the brewery's use of the word. It argued the brewery violated EU regulations by advertising alcohol as healthy.
A lower court in nearby Ravensburg had already ruled against the word "wholesome" but the brewery decided to challenge that verdict. The brewery may try to challenge the ruling in a higher court.
In a similar ruling in 2012, the European Court of Justice found that a wine-making cooperative in Germany could not use "wholesome" to describe its wine.
The cooperative argued in that case that the wine was "wholesome" because of a natural process used to reduce acidity.