How to Pack Your Brewery For Oktoberfest

This is the first in a two part series giving brewery owners advice on how to maximize business this Oktoberfest.
Brewery owners look forward to Oktoberfest every year like retail store owners look forward to Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. After all Oktoberfest is rivaled only by Mardi Gras when it comes to admissible debauchery and drinking being acceptable at all hours of the day.
What is Oktoberfest?
Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It is a 16 day festival running from late September to the first week in October and more than 6 million people from around the globe attend the festival every year.
Many other cities the world over hold their own Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event. As one would expect at a beer festival, lots and lots of beer is consumed. In 2007 in particular almost 7 million litres of Oktoberfest Beer were consumed during the 16 day event. Now most bar patrons don’t need an excuse to drink copious amounts of beer, but it doesn’t hurt to have one.
Here are 5 ways to make sure you pack your bar this Oktoberfest, while simultaneously assuring your customers have the most authentic experience possible.

Beer, Beer, and more Beer
Plain and simple you cannot have an Oktoberfest event without beer and more specifically German beer in particular. Now the original Oktoberfest in Munich holds all beers that can be served to the standard of the Reinheitsgebot or Purity Law.
According to the Reinheitsgebot Oktoberfest beer can contain nothing more than water, hops, and barley in addition to being brewed within Munich’s city limits. There are only 6 breweries that meet all of those goals: Augustiner-Bräu, Hacker-Pschorr-Bräu, Löwenbräu, Paulaner-Bräu, Spatenbräu, and Staatliches Hofbräu-München.
Luckily for you, most of the people not in Munich are beer enthusiasts, not beer purists, and will just be looking for some quality German beer to celebrate with. Here are a couple ways to capitalize on their German beer cravings:
Free German beer tastings: Brewing a selection of German beers? Why not let your patrons sample them all. Offering a free sampler of German beers will not only bring in the customers like a moth to a lantern, but entice them to keep on ordering their favorites for the entirety of the 16 day celebration. Note: Remember it’s a taste not a giveaway.
German Beer Deals: Putting your German beers on a special all day happy hour menu for the duration of Oktoberfest is a great way to get customers in the door and keep them there.

Specialty Drinks?
Now while Oktoberfest and beer have become almost synonymous over the years not everyone likes beer and despite what you might think this makes it a great time to broaden your brewery’s appeal. Offer a selection of specialty cocktails that are based on beer or traditional German delicacies to convince people who wouldn’t ordinarily come to your brewery to give it a shot. For example you could serve variations of:
New York Honey Beer
Miami’s Brickell-Rita beer cocktail
Cambridge’s Jumpin’ Jack Smash beer cocktail
or create your own. You can easily find recipes for all the aforementioned drinks here.

This is the first in a two part series giving brewery owners advice on how to maximize business this Oktoberfest.

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