A brewers' association argue the ancient law, known as Reinheitsgebot, protecting the purity and quality of German beer merits its place on a list generally associated with historic buildings.
"This almost 500-year-old law is one of the oldest food and drink regulations in the world," the German institute for pure beer said in a statement after its annual meeting.
"It has been the best guarantee for consumers for a very long time of an absolutely pure, tasty and high quality product. Beer is and remains Germany's national drink."
The law, enacted in 1516 by Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, limited the ingredients of beer to just malt, hops, yeast and water and no artificial additives. It threatened anybody "transgressing this ordinance" with the seizure of their beer and barrels "without fail".
As the law also applied to imported beer, foreign brewers eager to tap into the expanding German beer market had to adhere to its strict stipulations, and so the influence of the law spread across the continent.
In their effort to get Reinheitsgebot added to the UNESCO list the brewers have garnered cross-party support from the German parliament, and Peter Hahn, chief executive of the pure beer institute, reported the government would add its weight to the campaign.
But the brewers face a problem in that Germany has so far failed to ratify the UNESCO convention on the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which aims to protect and preserve an eclectic mix of living cultural traditions from across the world.
The beer association wants the government to ratify the convention so the law can take its place amongst other items on the list such as traditional Mexican food, Turkish oil wrestling and flamenco dancing.
The German UNESCO office in Bonn said it expected ratification within months.