Oktoberfest Tents Ordered to Stop Skimping on Beer

Munich authorities say only 1 in 5 has gotten a full pour
Wikimedia/Andreas Steinhoff

Munich authorities say Oktoberfest vendors will face sanctions if their pours do not measure up.

Munich officials announced an Oktoberfest crackdown this week, affirming their commitment to ridding the world’s biggest beer festival of skimpy pours.

Oktoberfest starts this Saturday in Munich and draws enough visitors that some hotels have increased prices 500 percent in preparation for the enormous influx of tourists. But before the festivities get underway, city officials have warned the festival’s beer tents to be more exact in their measuring and stop serving everybody such skimpy pours.

Authorities say servers in previous years have been pouring beers with excessive amounts of head, and as a result drinkers are getting shortchanged. Steins in Germany are marked with a little 1-liter line so servers know how to pour an exact 1-liter beer every time, but officials say foam doesn't count, and last year only one in five beers actually had the liquid hit the line. In some cases they estimated that drinkers paying €10 were missing out on €2 of beer per drink.

According to The Local, the Käfer’s Oktoberfest Tent was dubbed the worst offender in 2012, pouring only 0.8 liters of actual beer in a 1-liter glass. Löwenbräu’s tent was the most generous, generally managing to hit 0.94 liters, which meant their guests lost out on only $0.52 per stein.

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City officials announced in a press conference this week that they would be "energetically" pursuing vendors who were cheating customers with a lack of beer. A bartender pouring excessively frothy beer at the festival will receive a verbal or a written warning and could be banned from working at Oktoberfest. If more than three bartenders at a single tent are banned, officials said they would start legal proceedings against the tent's owners.