The History of Oktoberfest

Aug 23, 2022

Oktoberfest is Back!

After a two-year long break, the largest beer festival in the world is returning to Munich from September 17th to October 3. Today, Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival drawing around six million visitors annually. Each year, it continues to break new records from the quantity of beer consumed through to the amount of chicken devoured. But beyond the lederhosen and beer tents, there is an over 200-year history that’s rich with Bavarian tradition and culture.

Hacker Pschorr Inside Tent - Landscape (JPG)

The History

On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Bavaria. The annual celebration of this event later became the world’s largest beer event. Known as Oktoberfest, it begins in late September and runs through the first week in October. Although centered in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, it is celebrated in all of Germany and the entire world. Held at the original site of the wedding, The Oktoberfest is hosted by Munich’s “big-six” breweries; Hofbräu Bavaria, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten and Augustiner. These breweries maintain elaborate “tents” which serve as expansive festhalles. Thousands of hectoliters of beer and countless sausages are enjoyed each year at the event which also includes carnival rides and horse races.

Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier_people_wiesn_8 (1)

A week earlier, just outside Munich in the town of Freising, is the Volksfest, sponsored by Weihenstephan, the world’s oldest continuously operated brewery, since the year 1040. This brewery is owned by the German State (as is Hofbräu) and is home to the University of Brewing and the library of law that concerns brewing. The Reinheitsgebot was written and announced here in 1516. Although a slightly smaller occasion, the Volksfest offers the historic beer of Weihenstephaner as well as numerous local specialties such as roast duck, rolader and whole trout smoked on an alder stick.

This tradition continues throughout Germany and locals and visitors alike dress in traditional garb and drink along to brass bands playing the old songs which typify the Oktoberfest. Won’t you join us this year?

Hacker Pschorr Beer and Oktoberfest Tent (JPG)
Paulaner Oktoberfest inside tent
Paulaner Oktoberfest tent outside

Brewery Spotlights & History


HOFBRÄU

– One of the six breweries located in the city of Munich

– Founded in 1589 by Duke Wilhelm V, and intended to only supply royal court with beer

– It was founded as the brewery to the old Royal Residence, which at that time was situated just around the corner from where the beer hall stands today

– Hofbrau Haus has more beer consumed on site annually than any other place in the world.

Black and white vintage photo of Hofbrauhaus
Paulaner Old image of brewery

PAULANER

– Established in 1634 by monks in the Minim friars of the Neudeck ob der Au Monastery in Munich.

– In 1799 the Neudeck cloister was abolished and turned into a penitentiary.

– In 1806, Franz Xaver Zacherl purchased the building and he modernized and expanded it creating a product named Salvator, which is Latin for savior.

– In 1944 during the second world war the Paulaner brewery was destroyed by a bombing raid and was later rebuilt in 1950.

– In 1979 the Schorghuber family took over the brewery and is still the majority shareholder today.


HACKER-PSCHORR

– The first mention of the Hacker brewery was in 1417, located at the corner of Sendlinger and Hackenstrasse in Munich.

– In 1793, 23 y/o brewery servant, Joseph Pschorr, married Maria Theresia Hacker, daughter of the brewmaster, acquiring his father-in-law’s house and brewery.

– In 1813, construction begins on the Hacker “beer fortress,” Germany’s largest storage cellar with a square footage of 43,000 and capacity for nearly 30,000 barrels

– Pschorr purchases the Bauernhansl Brewery and other buildings in 1820 to establish the Pschorr Brewery

– In 1841, Pschorr’s sons Georg and Matthias inherited equal shares of the brewery, taking over the Pschorr and Hacker breweries respectively.

– Two World Wars, inflation, and the economic crisis led to changes in the beer market, prompting a merger between the breweries in 1972, giving rise to Hacker-Pschorr.

– In 1979, Josef Schorghuber assumed a majority stake of Hacker-Pschorr AG.

Hacker Pschorrbrau Bierhallen 1820
Weihenstephaner vintage truck

WEIHENSTEPHANER

– Oldest brewery in the world, established 1040 A.D. as the Weihenstephaner Monastery Brewery.

– Between 1085 and 1463 the brewery completely burnt down four times, was destroyed or depopulated by three plagues, various famines and a great earthquake.

– 1516 Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria issued the Bavarian Purity Law at the doorsteps of the brewery.

– 1895 Weihenstephaner becomes an academy for brewing and has been turning students from all over the world into the best brewers in the world since.


ERDINGER

– Founded in 1886 as “Weisse Bräuhaus” in Erding, the brewery was named Erdinger Weissbräu in 1949 by Franz Brombach.

– Franz’s son Werner Brombach joined the brewery in 1965 and become the sole owner in 1975 while becoming the first to sell wheat beer outside of Bavaria.

– Erdinger Weissbräu is the world’s largest wheat beer brewery.

Erdinger 1886

Oktoberfest Favorites

Hofbrau Oktoberfestbier 335ml bottle
HOFBRÄU OKTOBERFESTBIER

This is the original Oktoberfest Bier and the actual beer served in the Hofbräu Tent at the Munich Oktoberfest and exported around the world! A rich – golden color, the beer is brewed with a blend of four exquisite Hallertauer hops and three specially selected Bavarian malts. The aroma is filled with fresh fruity hops and the flavor is rich and full bodied. This brilliant and authentic lager style beer offers the true Oktoberfest experience. A beer which brings the world together. 6.3 % ABV

Paulaner Oktoberfest Bier 330ml botlte
PAULANER OKTOBERFEST BIER

This golden Oktoberfest lager is Germany’s #1 Oktoberfest bier. It is
also the only bier served in Paulaner Oktoberfest tents today and the
favorite bier at the Munich Oktoberfest. Brewed once a year, and only
available while supplies last, Oktoberfest bier is the pinnacle of
German brewing. 6.0% ABV

Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen 330ml bottle
PAULANER OKTOBERFEST MARZEN

This amber bier style was developed more than 200 years ago to
celebrate the original Munich Oktoberfest. The Märzen name originates
from “March bier” because it was historically brewed in March, to be
available for its peak flavor by the Oktoberfest celebration. Today, this
style is available year-round in the U.S., due to popular demand.
5.8% ABV

Hacker Pschorr Oktoberfest Marzen 330ml bottle
HACKER-PSCHORR OKTOBERFEST MARZEN

Original Oktoberfest has a nose of blackcurrents
and earth, with a malt driven flavor expertly
balanced by Hallertau hops. 5.8% ABV

Weihenstephaner-festbier
WEIHENSTEPHANER FESTBIER

Prost! Brewed for festbier season in Germany, this rich hoppy seasonal has a great mouthfeel with lots of flavor. A hoppy lager, deep gold and full0bodied truly represents the Bavarian way of celebrating. 5.8% ABV

Wine Warehouse Portfolio

Wine Warehouse was founded in 1973 by brothers Bob and Jim Myerson who wanted to share their enthusiasm for premium quality wine with the wine trade in Southern California. Today, the company is one of the largest distributors of alcoholic beverages in the United States with branches in Northern and Southern California covering the state. We are dedicated to offering a wide selection of wine, beer, spirits, non alcoholic beverages, and glassware to licensed retailers and restaurateurs in the California market.

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