And prices were already incredibly high last year.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 17, 2017
Dan Herrick / Getty Images

Beer at Oktoberfest Could Cost More Than Ever

Oktoberfest is the world’s largest and best known beer festival. Millions of people from around the world descend on Munich every fall with drinking on their minds. So in 2016, when articles appeared with titles like “It's Shocking How Much a Beer Costs at Oktoberfest This Year,” it’s not the kind of publicity the beer-centric event is looking for. According to that piece in Money, the price of a one-liter stein was clocking in at nearly $12, up about 3 percent from the year before and far outpacing the country’s 0.3 percent inflation rate.

Realizing that high beer prices are a PR problem, Munich’s deputy mayor Josef Schmid tried to step in and do something about it, suggesting a legal cap on the price of a “Mass” – the fest’s traditional one-liter serving of beer – until 2019. In March, that plan, which would have set the price of a beer at 10.70 euros (or just under $12), won the approval of the Bavarian competition authority. Though the decision was clearly good news for drinkers, it upset the beer tent owners who complained that much of the price increase was due to higher security costs stemming from greater concern over possible terrorist attacks, so Munich authorities agreed to meet with these owners this month to further discuss the price capping plan.

Well, the beer tent owners must have been pretty convincing because this week the Associated Press reported that Schmid’s plan has been officially shot down by his own city council after he failed to secure majority support. Green party councilor Lydia Dietrich specifically pointed out one potential pitfall, suggesting that locking in beer prices would simply lead to high prices on food and other drinks.

As a result, Oktoberfest attendees should anticipate that beer costs might be even higher this year than they were in 2016. But luckily, if this expense leads visitors to want to drown their sorrows, the beer will still be flowing freely, regardless of how pricey it may be.