- The annual event we know today actually began as a wedding ceremony.
On October 12th, 1810, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend festivities celebrating the wedding. The final event of the festivities was a horse race held on October 17th in the presence of the Royal Family. The decision to hold this horse race every year is what ultimately led to the Oktoberfest tradition.
- Strict requirements, known as “Reinheitsgebot”, must be met in order for the six breweries to be allowed permission to sell their beer at Oktoberfest.
Strong regulations regarding the brewing of Oktoberfest beer date back to the 16th Century. The oldest and perhaps most important of these regulations is the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Beer Purity Law. Originally decreed by Duke William IV in 1516, the Reinheitsgebot states that only water, hops, and barley should be used to brew Bavarian beer.
- Only six breweries are allowed to make and sell the beer at Oktoberfest.
Augustiner, Hacker Pschorr, Hofbräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, and Spaten are the only registered breweries allowed to distribute their products at Oktoberfest. These breweries were granted permission to distribute their product due to their following of the Reinheitsgebot. Other requirements met by these breweries include that they are all brewed within the city limits of Munich and the beers are all approximately 6% alcohol by volume.
- Other than eating and drinking, there are various activities to take part in throughout the event.
If you’ve had your fill of beer and food, you can always head over to one of the various attractions including Ferris wheels and roller coasters. If amusement park rides aren’t your cup of tea (or mug of beer), you can stop and listen to any of the live music performances being held or try your hand at crossbow shooting in the Armbrustschützen tent!
- In 2013, 6.4 million people attended Oktoberfest. 6.7 million liters of beer were consumed.
In addition to supplying attendees with beer, 114 oxen and 58 calves were also consumed. Guests spent roughly 400 million Euros during the festival, which is over roughly 517 million U.S. Dollars. To put that into perspective, that’s more money than the seven highest paid athletes in 2013 combined.