An east German brewer has had his right to add sugar syrup to his beer upheld. The addition of the syrup contravenes Germany's 500-year-old beer purity law.

Helmut Fritsche, who took over the Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle brewery in 1993, has spent over 10 years fighting the country's Reinheitsgebot law, which forbids brewers from using anything other than malted grain, hops, yeast and water in their beer. Fritsche added sugar syrup to his dark beer just before capping the bottles.

Germany's Federal Administrative Court yesterday (24 February) overturned the decision of the regional administrative court to threaten Fritsche with a fine of €20,000 (US$26,500). Fritsche is now permitted to market the product as a 'special beer.'