The History of Oktoberfest

Sep 13, 2023

Oktoberfest is Here!

The largest beer festival in the world is returning to Munich from September 16th 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.

Inside the Paulaner Oktoberfest tent.

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.

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?

Brewery Spotlights & History


– 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

– Original brewery located in Einbeck then moved to Munic

– First ever “Bock” (originally called Einbock for citizens of Einbeck) created in 1614

Black and white vintage photo of Hofbrauhaus


– Founded in 1629 inside the Neudeck monastery

– Brewed Paulaner Salvator (their strong beer) to celebrate the founding father of their order

– Largest Brewery in Bavaria today

– In 1780, Paulaner granted unrestricted license to serve its beer

– Paulaner is mostly destroyed by a bombing raid in 1944, reconstruction completed in 1955


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

– In 1793, brewery servant Joseph Pschorr marries Maria Hacker, daughter of the brewmaster

– Joseph Pschorr purchases Bauernhansl Brewery in 1820 and establishes Pschorr Brewery

– In 1780, Paulaner granted unrestricted license to serve its beer

– Hacker & Pschorr breweries merged in 1972 due to changes in beer market


– 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.


– 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.

Oktoberfest Favorites


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


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


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


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


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


A surprising seasonal offering that blends Erdinger’s famous Weissbier with traditional Oktoberfest taste. This beer pours cloudy with amber hints with aromas and flavors of fruit, clove and mild graininess, finishing with a sweet malt backbone.5.7% ABV

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