You don’t have to be a beer drinker to have heard of Oktoberfest...
The world’s largest beer festival takes place annually in the German city of Munich and sees many different brews enjoyed by visitors throughout the 16 days of celebrations.
The festival first took place on 12 October 1810 when Crown Prince Ludwig – later to become King Ludwig I – was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hidburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities in front of the city gates on the fields now known as Theresienwiese (Theresa’s fields), where the event takes place to this day.
The first official beer stalls were set up in 1818, to quench the thirst of those watching the horse races that were a part of the festival. By 1896, these stalls had grown in number and were replaced by beer tents and halls set up by local breweries and landlords. From thereon, Oktoberfest grew and grew.
By 1910 the crowds were consuming an estimated 120,000 litres of beer during the festival. Fast forward to 2013 and this number had increased to an astounding 6.7 million litres, while the event itself hosted 6.4 million visitors, many of whom travel to Munich from all over the world.
Only beer brewed within the city of Munich can be served at Oktoberfest and it must comply with the Reinheitsgebot, the ancient German beer purity law. This means just six breweries are able to fulfil these strict criteria.
But if you can’t make it to Munich and wish to sample a taste of the world’s greatest beer festival, there are other options.
As the weather cools down in the United States, Leinenkugel’s begin selling their seasonal Oktoberfest beer – a popular German-style brew that’s perfect for celebrating the start of autumn.
The Leinenkugel brewing family also love a beer-themed festival, and annually host a ‘Family Reunion’, inviting ‘Leinie’s’ enthusiasts from across the country to – as their motto says – ‘join us out here’. Thousands of reunion-goers visit Chippewa Falls every year in June to enjoy free beer, live music, speciality foods and entertainment. Leinenkugel's also sponsor the annual Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest, which features entertainers, sauerkraut eating contests, beer stein holding contests, German themed food, dancing and giant pumpkins!
In South America, Peru hold their very own Oktoberfest, which this year will take place at a football stadium in Lima. Sponsored by our Peruvian brand Cusqueña, there will be beer stands, live music shows and food stalls, as well as Peru´s World Cup qualifying match against Colombia.
And back in Europe, Pilsner Fest is held at the start of October to celebrate the first time the famous Pilsner Urquell was created in 1842 by brewer Josef Groll. The event held at our brewery in the Czech city of Pilsen celebrates the historic craftsmanship that goes into creating this legendary brew.
So if you like good food, good music and, most of all, good beer, then seeking out a beer festival should definitely be on your ‘to do’ list – whether or not you can make it to Munich.