September 25, 2022
Oktoberfest is back on tap in Germany, but inflation could spell a crisis

MUNICH (AP) — Oktoberfest is back in Germany two-year pandemic canceled — the same bicep-challenging beer mugs, fat-dripping pork knuckles, pretzels the size of dinner plates, men in leather shorts and women in cleavage-baring traditional clothes.

But while winemakers are more than happy to see the return of the Bavarian capital’s Südsee tourist center, so are both they and the visitors. under inflationary pressure In a way that can hardly be imagined that it was last held in 2019.

For one thing, a 1-liter (2-pint) mug of beer will cost between 12.60 and 13.80 euros ($12.84 and $14.07) this year, which is a roughly 15% increase compared to 2019, according to the official Oktoberfest homepage .

The event opens at noon on Saturday when the mayor of Munich taps the first keg and announces “O’Zapft is there,” or “It’s tapped” in Bavarian dialect.

For Germany’s brewers, the rising cost is much more than the price of a round at the festival’s tall wooden benches. From raw materials such as barley and hops to raw materials such as beer caps and packing materials, they are facing high prices throughout their range of production.

this is a inflation mirror Moving across the economy: skyrocketing natural gas prices because of Russian war in Ukraine Businesses and consumers are boosting what they pay for energy, while demand recovery from the pandemic is making parts and raw materials difficult.

Brewing equipment is often filled with natural gas, and prices for barley malt – or grain that has been allowed to germinate by wetting it – have more than doubled, to over 600 euros a tonne. There is an increase of 80% in glass bottles, like Glass makers pay more for energy, Bottle caps are up 60%, and even the glue for the labels is in short supply.

“The prices of everything have changed a lot this year,” said Sebastian Uetz, head technician at Munich’s historic Hofbreu brewery, which traces its roots to 1589 in the city. You need a lot of energy to make beer.. And for refrigeration. And also, we need raw materials – barley malt, hops – where the price has increased purchases.

The cost of everything—cardboard, stainless steel for the barrels, wooden pallets, cleaning supplies to keep the brewing tanks spotless—has gone up.

“These are prices that the German brewing industry has never seen before,” said Ulrich Bien, spokesman for the historic family-owned Veltins Brewery in Grevenstein, which is not one of the brands sold at Oktoberfest.

The rate of inflation in Germany in August was 7.9% annually, and a record 9.1% 19 countries that use the euro currency. Rising consumer prices in Europe have been fueled by Russia is restricting the supply of natural gas, prices driving through the roof. He feeds through electricity, because gas is used to generate electricity, and to the cost of many industrial processes that run on gas, such as making fertilizers, glass and steel. Farmers are watching High cost of heating buildings And fertilizer crops,

Whatever makes up the prices of the things people buy, and those high prices cut into their purchasing power.

Carsten Brzewski, chief eurozone economist at ING Bank, said inflation is “running red hot in Germany” and could reach 10% by the end of the year. The rate should drop next year as consumer demand weakens – but it’s small consolation today.

In any case, Oktoberfest is a much-needed boost for Munich’s hotels and food service industry.

“It’s beautiful,” said Mayor Dieter Reiter. “You can see the excitement is back.” He downplayed concerns about such a huge event during the pandemic, saying that the spread of COVID-19 is “no longer the deciding factor” and adding, “Let’s see how it goes.”

Some 487 beer breweries, restaurants, fish and meat grills, wine vendors and others will serve Oktoberfest fun, and opening hours will be longer than ever, with the first beer tents opening at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. Closes at :30. Final orders will be taken at 9:30 PM

In the years before COVID-19, some 6 million people attended the ceremony annually, many of them dressed in traditional Bavarian attire – women in drundle dress, men in lederhosen, or knee-length leather trousers.

Oktoberfest, first held in honor of Princess Therese’s marriage to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria in 1810, has been canceled dozens of times during its more than 200-year history due to wars and epidemics.

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