The original celebration dates back to October 12, 1810 and yes, it kicked off in Germany.  Every fall, millions of people gather in Munich, Germany to drink beer, eat soft pretzels, and celebrate Oktoberfest.  An average of six million people get together each year and drink more than two million gallons of beer and that’s only for the celebration in Munich! In fact, the gathering is so popular that thousands of Oktoberfest celebrations are held all over the world. And while I’ll never turn down the opportunity to drink beer and eat pretzels, I have always wondered what the purpose is.

When is Oktoberfest 2022?

Despite the name, Oktoberfest actually begins in September. Oktoberfest is a two-week-long celebration that always ends on the first Sunday in October, meaning it starts the last week of September. This year, Oktoberfest begins September 17th and ends on October 3rd.  It is important to keep in mind that these dates are only for the traditional festival held in Munich, Germany. The original six Munich breweries still provide the beer. Many places all over the world hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the months of September and October.

The History of Oktoberfest

The story behind this amazing festival doesn’t actually involve beer or pretzels. On October 12, 1810, a party was held to celebrate the marriage of King Louis I to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival lasted five days, and included dancing, celebrating, and a horse race. The next year, an agricultural fair was added to the festival as the couple celebrated their first year of marriage, and it quickly became an annual event.

It wasn’t until 1818 that food and drink vendors became part of the festival, and by the 1900s, the vendor booths had transformed into large temporary beer halls. Today, these beer halls can seat up to 6,000 guests each, which is necessary because more than six million people come to Munich each year to take part in the celebration.

At a typical Oktoberfest you’ll find beer stein-holding contests, people dressed in traditional lederhosen, and usually a lively German band playing traditional music.

How can Oktoberfest benefit your brewery?

Planning to celebrate Oktoberfest in your brewery can bring in new business opportunities!  This is a great way to celebrate the delicious beers you make.  Marketing that you will be celebrating is huge.  You can host competitions, sell beer steins, serve German food, play German music during the day and dance music at night.  Make your brewery feel and look like you have stepped into a brewery in Germany.  This can be a fun time for your staff and your customers!