Oktoberfest Visitors Tried to Steal Nearly 100,000 Beer Mugs
And yet, you can still buy the official stein online.
Let's talk about stealing glassware: If you go out for drinks on the regular, chances are you've at least wanted to take a glass home with you. Glassware can be alluring for all sorts of reasons: a logo, a particular shape and style, and sentimental value. (Even Rihanna can't resist.) But different places have different policies on how to walk out with a glass. For instance, at a brewery, usually they sell their glasses—and if you like the brewery, you damn well should support them by paying. But compounding the issue, on the other end of the spectrum, some bartenders just don't want to know or look the other way and just leave it at that. Then again, some places don't mind as long as you ask. It's a minefield really, so the moral: Try to know what the policy is and follow it. Don't be a jerk.
At the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Munich, the policy is apparently don't steal your drinking stein. How do we know? Well, because the festival releases stats from the event, and organizers say that, in 2019, stewards confiscated a whopping 96,912 beer mugs from people attempting to swipe them either in the drinking tents or as they attempted to exit.
To put that number in perspective, reportedly over 6 million people attended the event and drank about 7.3 million beers—meaning that someone tried to steal the mug of about one out of every 75 beers served. For the record, the number of confiscated glasses was actually down from 2018 when it was closer to 101,000.
Of course, the organizers behind Oktoberfest know people want souvenir steins (and not just by looking at the theft numbers), so, yes, the proper way to get one is to buy one. There is, in fact, an Official Oktoberfest Stein 2019—and adding to the allure, only 70,000 of these mugs were produced for this year's event. Very interestingly, however, those mugs are still available online as of this writing for €18—despite the fact that Oktoberfest ended a few days ago.
So to hammer this home: Visitors attempted to steal mugs over 100,000 times, but the event was unable to sell 70,000 mugs as souvenirs. Clearly, this discrepancy has some takeaways. Maybe some people don't want to pay for a mug? Maybe some people liked the mug they were drinking from better? And probably, some people are just into swiping mugs for the sport of it—possibly more so after a few steins-worth of beer.