Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia, which can be fatal. It’s caused most commonly by aerobic bacteria that are carried by amoeba that thrive in stagnant water and has been found in everything from air conditioners to ice making machines (there’s a little nightmare fuel for you). In equally startling news, Warsteiner, Germany’s largest privately owned brewery, is battling concerns in Germany (right before Oktoberfest!) over Legionella bacteria found in its wastewater. The outbreak in Western Germany has infected more than 165 people and killed two, according to an article on German Pulse (which cites the Financial Times, which we don’t have access to).
Warsteiner beer is one of the top five beer brands in Germany and abides by the strict Reinheitsgebot first introduced in 1516, but their reputation is now at stake after the deadly Legionella bacteria was discovered in the wastewater pumped out by the brewery. Now tourists wanting to visit the famous brewery are being told to stay away from the town in an effort to stop the disease from infecting more.
Warsteiner officials have been imploring people that its beer is safe to drink. Boiling water temperatures during the brewing process go far higher than needed to kill such bacteria. Cleanliness is one of the major credos in the craft industry’s portfolio of environmental stewardship, but despite significant improvement over the last 20 years, water consumption and wastewater disposal remain environmental and economic hurdles for any size brewery. We suggest you brush up on some of the challenges of wastewater systems for breweries with an article we recently wrote. Back to the German Pulse article:
As soon as the outbreak occurred in the town of Warstein, a Warsteiner spokeswoman was quick to reassure the public that their “products are safe,” but have now grown quiet after it was revealed that the source was in their own wastewater. Despite their quick silence, North Rhine-Westphalia environment ministry spokesperson Frank Seidlitz, addressed the concerns and stated that “the Warsteiner brewery is not, for the time being, seen as the original source.” Whether or not the Warsteiner brewery is found to be the breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria, officials have been making it clear that the beer is completely safe to drink.