Oktoberfest – a festival of traditions, beer and patents
The traditional Oktoberfest will take place from the 20 September to 5 October 2014 in Munich, Germany. During this time, more than 6.7 million liters of beer are sold more than 6 million visitors are expected. But, the Oktoberfest is also a showcase for patented technology.
History of the Oktoberfest
On 12 October 1810 Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the celebrations held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate this royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's meadow") in honor of the Crown Princess. Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the closeness of the royal event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. Since 1810, nearly every year the Oktoberfest at the Theresienwiesen takes place.
Of course, the character of the festival has changed. Horse races ended in 1960 and more and more modern activities, like roller coasters, were offered. But, there are still some traditional components like the parade on the first day or the beer tents where up to 5.000 people celebrate.
Beer at the Oktoberfest
At the Oktoberfest more than 6.7 million liters of beer are usually sold. But, only Oktoberfest beer may be served. To be called “Oktoberfest” beer, a beer has to comply to the German Purity Law and contain a minimum of 13.5% original extract (approximately 6% alcohol by volume). Moreover, the beer must be brewed within the city limits of Munich.
The breweries that can produce Oktoberfest Beer under the criteria are the “six” lucky ones, namely: Augustiner-Brau (the oldest brewery in Munich, founded in 1323) , Hacker-Pschorr-Brau, Lowenbrau, Paulaner, Spatenbrau, Staatliches Hofbrau-Munchen. And, “Oktoberfest Beer” is a registered trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers.
Technology at the Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest is not just a yearly festival, but, also a platform for new technologies and therefore a marketplace for patents. Taking a look at the collection of the European Patent Office (EPO) shows 1813 patents for beer taps, 285 patents for chicken rotisseries, and even 43 patents on Ferris-wheel technology. Most of the patents are invisible for the visitors because they are either installed with other components in rides or integrated in beer tents.
Watch this film produced by the EPO to find out how it's possible to fill a tankard in just three seconds, what Krinoline owner Theo Niederlander has to say about the latest trends in carnival rides and which pulse-racing technologies are winning over the Wiesn's ride-goers:
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