Brewers in Germany want a 16th century beer purity law recognised as world heritage by UNESCO.
They have applied to the UN agency for the Reinheitsgebot law to join a list of "intangible heritage" that includes Spanish flamenco and an oil-wrestling festival in Turkey.
The law allows only water, barley malt, hops and yeast for brewing.
Germany has about 1300 breweries and 5000 brands of beer.
The Reinheitsgebot was introduced in Bavaria in 1516 and adopted nationwide in 1906. German Brewers Federation president Hans-Georg Eils said it was the oldest food and beverage regulation in the world.
The law was introduced to protect beer drinkers from cheap and sometimes hazardous ingredients.
Although Germany is Europe's biggest beer producer, the BBC reports beer consumption per head in the country has been declining for years.
However, Germany is still home to the world's biggest beer festival, the Oktoberfest, a 16-day event in Munich that began in 1810 and this year attracted 6.4 million visitors, according to official figures.