Welcome to Oktoberfest, Where Recessions Don’t Exist
Despite widespread monetary rain clouds pushing up the cost of beer and food, drinkers are showing up in record numbers to Oktoberfest.
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Inflation is brewing everywhere, and Oktoberfest is no exception.
The German economy has seen better days, but despite widespread monetary rain clouds pushing up the cost of beer and food, drinkers are showing up in record numbers to partake in Munich’s 213-year-old festival.
After a two-year pandemic-related absence, Oktoberfest returned last year, but it rained for most of the festival and temperatures averaged in the low 50s. Approximately 5.7 million people attended the event, which was down about 10% from 2019.
But this year, Munich’s extreme summer weather has bled into early fall, offering warm temperatures and sunny skies. By the midway point of the event — which started Sept. 16 and ends this Tuesday — nearly 3.5 million people had already visited the Theresienwiese fairgrounds. And the exorbitant prices for food and drink haven’t deterred people from donning their ederhosen and dirndl:
- A liter of beer costs between €12.60 (about $13.34) and €14.90, up 6% from last year, and a plate of traditional pork knuckles is €25, a €5 increase from 2019.
- Brewers said with the price of malt, hops, sugar, and aluminum cans all going up, there was no alternative to passing those costs onto the customer.
“Everything’s going to be more expensive this year,” Paulaner CEO Jörg Biebernick told the Financial Times. “I don’t think people are deterred by the high prices.”
Money for your pocket: It’s not just consumers craving normalcy. The FT reported that this year’s strong turnout is indicative of the growing purchasing power of Germans. For more than a year, Europe’s largest economy has experienced high inflation, steep energy costs, and rising interest rates. But, much like the US, wages have risen and may continue to rise in the wake of new jobseeker subsidies and a pension boost scheduled for 2024.