Increase Your Bar Biz with Octoberfest

Published 08/02/2022

Celebrated annually for 16-18 days from mid-to-late September to the first Sunday in October, Oktoberfest is one of the largest funfairs in Germany. It usually features a beer festival, amusement park rides, and plenty of fun and games for children and adults alike. Merchants offer traditional cuisine and historic costumes, while festival attendees often dress in traditional clothing. Located in Munich, Bavaria since its inception in 1880, it now draws about 6 million people per year.

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Oktoberfest has come to be observed the world over. In the United States alone hundreds of cities host Octoberfest (English spelling) festivals annually. With the increasing popularity of microbreweries and German brewhouses, America's appetite for celebrating both German and craft beers has helped to keep Octoberfest traditions going strong.

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There’s no better time than Octoberfest for taverns, bars, and brewhouses across the U.S. to celebrate their beer selection. Choose one day, a whole weekend, or the entire two+ weeks of Octoberfest to offer drink specials, traditional German food, and entertainment.

While the festivities usually center around beer consumption, non-beer drinkers appreciate something special to drink, too. That’s where the traditional German “Bowle” comes in – a fresh fruit punch that can be made with or without alcohol. They’re especially delightful when served from a bowl made of a hollowed-out fruit such as a watermelon, and many other fruits can be combined to enhance the flavor, including oranges, cherries, apples, cranberries, mango, and cantaloupe. You can find plenty of Bowle recipes online.

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Food specials can include a variety of sausage rolls (complete with curried mustards and ketchups), sauerkraut or cabbage, dumplings, and giant soft-dough pretzels. A simple internet search will render hundreds of delicious recipes for chefs who really want to do it up – everything from bratwurst soup to beer-soaked chocolate brownies!

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Your traditional Octoberfest entertainment could include:

  • A DJ playing high-energy German and American party music
  • A costume contest - offer prizes for the sexiest lederhosen and sexiest the dirndl
  • Host a stein-holding contest (pronounced “shtine” and rhymes with shine). It involves holding a famously heavy German mug filled with beer at arm’s length for as long as one can stand to. If the stein is made of traditional stoneware, it will be much more difficult than it sounds. If it’s made of glass, it will be slightly less difficult. But being filled with beer, it will no doubt challenge even your strongest customer. (Note: since men’s muscular structure is generally larger than women’s, it might be best to host two contests – one for men and one for women, in the interest of fairness.)
  • If you want to pull out all the stops, hire an oompa band to keep your dance floor hopping all night long.

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