Current Weather
The Spy FM

Achtung Beerdrinkers: Munich’s Brewers Need Bottles, Kegs For Oktoberfest

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
September 6, 2012

German beer drinkers are eagerly awaiting Sept. 22, when the first Oktoberfest beer barrel will be tapped in Munich, and two weeks of revelry begin. But when that happens, they might want to drink up — because the city’s brewers are worried they won’t be able to supply enough beer for the massive party and its huge beer tents.

The brewers aren’t out of beer — there’s plenty of that to go around, they say. The trouble is that makers of beers like Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr don’t have enough bottles to supply the festival. In some cases, they’ve fallen tens of thousands of bottles behind their production schedule. Other say their kegs are in short supply.

The situation led Heiner Müller of the Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr brewery to appear in Munich’s TZ newspaper today.

“Dear Munichers – bring back your crates,” he said, according to the German news site The Local. “We need our empties!”

The reason for the shortage is simple: People have been drinking a lot of beer in Munich lately. The spike in consumption is being blamed on some really nice weather the city’s been having at the end of summer.

As we reported last year, 7.5 million liters of beer were served at Munich’s Oktoberfest last year. And of course, much of it is consumed in the festival’s famous steins, the large mugs that hold draft beer.

Because the brewers wash and re-use their bottles over and over — as many as 50 times, according to TZ — they rely on their customers to turn them back in. That hasn’t been happening quickly enough to let beer makers build up the supplies they need.

“We’re tens of thousands of bottles short,” said Stefan Hempl of the Hofbräu brewery.

The Local describes what, for some, would be a nightmare scenario:

“The crisis has led to Hofbräu prioritizing its two most popular beers – Helles and Wiesnbier. ‘At the moment we could have a situation where we don’t have any dark beer for a few days,’ said Hempl, sending a chill down many Bavarian spines.”

Even the big boys like Spaten and Löwenbräu — both of them owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev — are feeling the squeeze. Those breweries say they’re running out of kegs.

“We can still fulfill all the orders, but it’s getting tight,” said Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Oliver Bartelt. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

10AM to 11PM On Point

On Point

On Point unites distinct and provocative voices with passionate discussion as it confronts the stories that are at the center of what is important in the world today. Leaving no perspective unchallenged, On Point digs past the surface and into the core of a subject, exposing each of its real world implications.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center