The western German city of Cologne is known for its laid-back attitude, epitomized in its world-famous Carnival celebrations.

But when it comes to beer, fun obviously has its limits.

The consumer protection agency from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has now banned a beer called Colonia, produced by a Frankfurt brewery, from being sold in NRW, where Cologne is situated.

The State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV) said the Frankfurt beer’s name and label could lead consumers to think they were buying Kölsch, a beer that is brewed in Cologne and the surrounding area.

The word Colonia harks back to the Latin name of the Roman colony from which the city developed, Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. The label of the Colonia beer features the contours of Cologne’s iconic cathedral and one of its landmark bridges. Advertising for the beer said that its character recalled “a Kölsch in its original classic form.”

The term “Kölsch” has a protectedgeographicalindication (PGI) within the European Union, meaning that a beer can be sold under that name only if it is brewed within 50 kilometres (30 miles) of the city of Cologne.

Like Italian ham

The NRW officials have placed a complete ban on “storing, offering, keeping for sale, delivering, selling or otherwise bringing into circulation” the Colonia beer.

LANUV compared the case with that of Prosciutto di Parma, a type of ham that can be sold under that name only if it is produced in the Italian region of Parma.

Prosciutto di Parma packed in string bags

Like Kölsch, this ham specialty from Parma is also protected by EU regulations

The brewery in Frankfurt said it was surprised at the new ban, as its beer had been marketed since 2009. But it would not contest the ruling, it told the DPA news agency, as it would be focusing on other brands from January onward.

However, it expressed regret that the ban meant that “a completely perfect and, incidentally, extremely delicious product” would no longer be on sale in NRW.

The NRW officials said they had come across the Colonia brand during routine controls on the internet.