October 2, 2019 - Who makes sure our beers are ready, your seat is reserved and your ‘mass' is filled in less than three seconds? Say ‘prost' to the people behind the world's biggest beer festival.
The biggest beer fest in the world is around corner…Oktoberfest! And few know as much about the inner workings of our company's presence at this unparalleled Munich event than Thomas Richter, our national on-trade manager in Germany.
“We host five of the 12 tents (or ‘houses”) at Oktoberfest which together hold about 26,000 visitors. This is huge!” he says. “Our market share in Germany is relatively small, so we are grateful that consumers can enjoy two of our greatest beers, Spaten and Löwenbrau, both helles beers, traditional German pale lagers especially popular in the Bavaria region.”
Oktoberfest got its start as a royal wedding celebration in 1810 and has grown into the world's largest festival, which last year welcomed 6.3 million people who drank 7.5 million liters of beer. And not just any beer is served – it must be brewed within the city limits.
Here's how we get ready!
“Thanks to our amazing teams, Oktoberfest is a year-over-year success,” says Thomas.
For example, Gerhard Binder and his Event Services team, along with the Technical Service teams, collaborate on setting up the tents and supervising the massive tanks where our beers are stored. The draught installations, which include over four kilometers of ‘beer pipelines', can pour one liter of beer in three seconds!
Meanwhile, Bernhard Klier, our Sales Manager of Direct Business, and his team go the extra mile to keep our customers happy by making sure they are able to enjoy the Oktoberfest experience in the best way possible, while Harald Stückle, Brewery Manager – Munich, and his teams brew all the beers made especially for serving at Oktoberfest.
“We've never run out of beer and for that we have these teams to thank! They ensure that we deliver the same quality beer and service throughout the 16-day event,” Thomas says. ‘Without our colleagues Oktoberfest would not be possible.”
There are also numerous marketing promotions led by the Sales and Trade Marketing teams for our points of consumption (POCs) as part of the celebration. Also supporting is Doris Rodewald who manages all the planning, ordering and reservations for the Oktoberfest events.
“Without Doris we would be lost!” says Thomas.
How we survive Oktoberfest
“The event itself is truly a hectic period”, says Thomas. “There's always a fire to fight somewhere, but our on-site teams are incredible. It's important to stay calm under pressure, especially in circumstances where you don't have all the information and have to make quick decisions. This is a team of problem-solvers, who take ownership and are willing to take risks. Everyone puts in the extra effort and we have a great time doing it together.”
Despite the hectic nature of the event, there's always one time of day during Oktoberfest that Thomas enjoys most - when the sun goes down.
“There is a specific moment when you stand in a tent, the sun breaks through the windows and shines on the people. It's truly beautiful,” he says.
Oktoberfest is held from 21 September to 6 October, 2019 in Munich. To watch the action live, check out the Oktoberfest webcams.