It’s that time of year again; Oktoberfest is upon us. While typically associated with beer, food and frivolities in modern times, this world renowned festival actually has a long rich history that some people aren’t aware of.
Steeped in Tradition
What is now seen as a festival for drinking actually started out as a joyous celebration of the marriage between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. On October 12th 1810 the Munich population were invited to revel in the festivities of the occasion with feasting, horse racing and cheer.
What started out as a royal party open to the local population over 5 days, by 1811 had expanded to include an agricultural show and by 1818 featured carnivals with carousels and swings. The original celebration featured only a small number of beer stands in attendance to keep the guests adequately lubricated however the number grew in subsequent years, the event playing host to multiple small tents set up by local landlords and brewers.
While the original essence of the occasion that first prompted Oktoberfest into being has largely been replaced, it has since evolved into a festival celebrating Bavarian culture, revolving around good German beer (bier), authentic fare and the coming together of people with lederhosen and dirndl dress a common sight.
Did You Know: The serving of beer at Oktoberfest can’t officially begin until the Major of Munich, the master of ceremonies, opens the first barrel and announces ‘O zapft is!’ (It’s tapped!)
Today the number of beer tents has grown to include approximately 14 large canvas structures each seating up to 10,000 guests, plus 18+ smaller more intimate tents each for a mere few hundred visitors.
The sheer number of people that attend this popular annual event means that not everyone will get a seat. With only enough seating for roughly 100,000 lucky guests, everyone else has to make do with standing room only.
Fun Fact: Waiters and waitresses must be able to carry 10 beer steins, each holding 1 litre, at once. The World Record currently belongs to German Oliver Strümpfel who walked 40 metres with 29 beer steins weighing 69kg.
The modern Munich Oktoberfest now takes place over 2 weeks, actually starting in September to take advantage of the milder weather and coming to an end typically the first Sunday of October.
Although Germans make up the majority of visitors, Oktoberfest proves to be a massive tourist attraction, pulling in people from around the globe, all hoping to experience first-hand the legendary atmosphere and, of course, the bier.
Did You Know: In 2017 a reported 6.2 million guests attended the 18 day Oktoberfest festival putting away approximately 7.5 million litres of bier or ‘Oktoberfestbier’ as it is referred to.
Interestingly only German beer brewed in Munich by just 6 breweries can be served. The traditional bier served definitely packs an extra punch when compared to average beers, leading many revellers to suffer sore heads in the morning.
Fun Fact: In Bavaria the German Red Cross set up recovery tents to treat attendees whether for genuine injuries, beer related maladies or simply to sleep off hangovers.
Oktoberfest in the UK and Around the World
There’s no need to splash out on tickets to Munich (although the atmosphere is something that deserves to be experienced).The popularity of Oktoberfest in its native country has seen the idea expand on a worldwide scale. Elsewhere in the world Oktoberfest will generally occur in the month of the events namesake where the delights of German beer and food are sampled and enjoyed during one of the years most anticipated events.
Wherever you are, expect thousands of litres of beer, delicious traditional food and a helping of authentic music.
As Brits we love nothing more than honouring tradition – mix in a helping of fun and it’s a sure fire success. The UK has embraced the custom with events being held the length and breadth of the country throughout October. There’s plenty to get involved with. Whether attending as a member of the public or as a business, it’s a great opportunity to come together and celebrate authentic Bavaria.
This large scale event can be a great advertisement for a business, giving the opportunity to put a brand out there into the consciousness of people that may not otherwise be aware. Making sure that product, whether food or drink, are representative of the quality and professionalism that a business offers is vital to portraying services in the best light.
Commercial keg coolers are a great way to guarantee that beer is stored in optimum conditions. For some, beer could arguably be seen as the main attraction so be sure not to disappoint. True and Gamko, two of the leading keg cooler manufacturers ensure that consistent temperatures are always achieved: giving the crowds the perfectly chilled beer they came for. Whether looking for a refrigerated storage cabinet to hold spare kegs until required or a cooler that offers an inbuilt dispensing system, there’s something to suit all requirements. To discuss options or for more information contact our experienced sales team today.
Happy Oktoberfest 2018!