The Mumbai Oktoberfest – Round 2

Last October Mumbaikars welcomed to their city the world’s biggest beer festival and they made sure that it lived up to its Munich counterpart. Matching the Germans sip for sip and litre for litre, their response was a surprise to everyone, except perhaps themselves! With the 2011 edition around the corner (14-16 October) check out what last year’s beer extravaganza had to offer. 

Franz T. Festl

Date: 20 October, 2010 Ambrosia magazine

German-born Franz T. Festl couldn’t go to his hometown of Munich for the Oktoberfest this year, so he thought ‘why not bring Munich to Mumbai’. And that was all it took for this DHL General Manager to set the wheels in motion for the first ever Oktoberfest in the city of Mumbai.

 From15 to 17 October, 2010 the biggest and most famous Beer festival in the world – The Oktoberfest – was held in Mumbai, complete with German beer, lots of wurst (German sausages) and of course a traditional German band to set the musical score for what has been the most awaited event in the city for a few months now.

The venue at the Mahalaxmi race course was decked in the traditional Bavarian colours of white and blue, with a separate garden area and a more exclusive tent. Just like the tradition Munich tents, the tent seated guests along long benches and had a total seating capacity of around 800 people.

After performances over the 17 days of the Munich Oktoberfest, the German band, Die Oberbayern brought that hearty Oktoberfest spirit to the race course and made sure they infected everyone with it. The ladies in the band, dressed in dirndls, taught the crowd the steps to all the traditional jingles and by the second number the band had the entire crowd on its feet, dancing the night away, carefree and happy. Of course the copious amounts of German beer might have had something to do with it!

The breweries of Erdinger Weissbraeu provided the beer and according to Festl, the Bavarian beer was the perfect choice because of its authenticity. Erdinger Weissbraeu Hell and Erdinger Weissbraeu Dunkel were available in 500 ml and 1 ltr capacities for Rs. 200 and Rs. 400 respectively. And the Mumbaikars seemed to enjoy the wheat beer so much that by the afternoon of the 17th, the Oktoberfest was all out and had to organise for more beer. “The most popular beer fest in the world was celebrated with the world’s most popular wheat beer -Erdinger Weissbier. The response in Mumbai has been overwhelming. I can see that Indian consumers know how to party. It is very encouraging for us to see them enjoy themselves,” said Oliver Helbig of Erdinger Weissbraeu.

And for those who missed the event, have no fear; Erdinger Weissbraeu is in Mumbai! The brand is already being distributed by Hema Connoisseurs in Delhi and is likely to enter the Mumbai market soon. Erdinger is brewed only in Erding in Germany and undergoes a specific brewing process and calls itself the world’s largest wheat beer brewery.

Peter Deubet, Deputy Director General of the Indo German Chamber of Commerce ensured that, “The Mumbai Oktoberfest will now be an annual event in Mumbai’s calendar and we will return next year with a much bigger event.”

By the end of the night, the excitement and good-cheer in the air was palpable and it was truly a sight to see everyone with beer steins in hand, toasting each other as they kept beat with the tunes of Die Oberbayern. And the only thing that could be heard above the music was PROST – the German equivalent of Cheers. So if you couldn’t catch this one, here’s looking forward to the Mumbai Oktoberfest 2011. Prost!

Oktoberfest 2011

Dates: 14, 15, 16 October

Venue: Mahalaxmi Race Course, 5 pm onwards

For reservations: Ketaki Tarhalkar

Tel: +91-22-66652121, +91-22-66652147

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