The Koelsch Convention

Koelsch will remain Koelsch. The Koelsch breweries in Cologne and its immediate surroundings agreed this on March 6th, 1986 to protect the German beer specialty.

The Koelsch Convention

Koelsch will remain Koelsch. The Koelsch breweries in Cologne and its immediate surroundings agreed this on March 6th, 1986 to protect the German beer specialty. The Koelsch Convention was signed by the directors of 24 Koelsch breweries with the blessing of the German Federal Cartel Office and in the presence of the then mayor of Cologne Norbert Burger.

This document, which is unique in the German beer industry, is based in part on a court decision made in 1980. The ruling determined that Koelsch is not only a type of beer, but also a designation of origin. According to this, Koelsch can only be brewed and sold by breweries in Cologne, with the exception of breweries which have been brewing Koelsch for many years even though they weren’t or are not resident in Cologne.

The aim of the Koelsch Convention is to prevent foreign breweries from brewing faulty, fake or watered-down Koelsch. It created binding rules of competition and guidelines for the members of the Cologne Brewery association. All Koelsch breweries willingly accepted these rules.

The guidelines specify that true Koelsch is a top-fermented, light-coloured, clear, highly fermented, hopsy full ale and is brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516. In addition to this, the brewers support serving Koelsch exclusively in the traditional Koelsch glasses which are tall and cylindrical. The designation of origin “Koelsch” should also be clearly visible in all external representation. This includes all containers, packaging and commercial material.