The Rise of Perth’s Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is a two-week-long yearly celebration of German heritage with beer, food, Bavarian music and dressing up in traditional German clothing.

Perth’s most prominent annual Oktoberfest celebration was launched in 2011 at Langley Park, East Perth, turning authentic German beers, wines, cider, and food stalls into a traditional Aussie celebration. 

Image: Pixabay.

Oktoberfest originated and launched on October 12, 1810, in Munich, Germany to commemorate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria to Princess Therese. Now, over six million people attend Oktoberfest each year in Germany making it the world’s largest beer festival.

German beverages, especially beer, are gaining popularity and sales in Perth, according to Duckstein Brewery.

Since the year 1000, German monasteries have been producing beer. Beer-producing monasteries were mostly found in Southern Germany, and some of them, such as Kloster Andechs, St. Gallen, Weihenstephan, and Weltenburg, are still brewing today.

Perth’s craft beer culture is thriving, and many brewers draw influence from German brewing traditions. The celebration of German beer culture is an annual tradition at events such as Oktoberfest, according to the Crafty Pint Perth.

Ocean Reef Sea Sports Club manager Josh Bruce said, “Weihenstephan and Hofbrau are the main German beers that have skyrocketed in sales, especially in the past year.”

German cuisine has also made an impression on Australia. Traditional German specialities like sausages, schnitzels, sauerkraut, and pretzels have appeared on menus in German-inspired restaurants around the country.

Throughout October, many Perth restaurants and bars participate in Oktoberfest celebrations, holding non-ticketed events.

Duckstein German Brewery & Restaurant manager Luke Williams said, “On our website, we say, every Saturday and Sunday is Oktoberfest in October. This is the busiest October we’ve ever had.”

Oktoberfest is now annually celebrated across all of Australia. Many local liquor stores are adorned with Oktoberfest promotions and stock due to the popularity of German liquor.

Celebrations Glendalough owner Nigel Harbach said, “Leading up to the event we decorate the shop with German beer steins, amp up the German products and have a few giveaways in the lead-up to Oktoberfest.

“The German beers are getting more popular because they are a cleaner drinking beer, in the last 12 months we have upped our stock 20 per cent.”

Oktoberfest Haus says traditional German dress-ups are a common sight during Oktoberfest, with the German dirndls and lederhosen being a staple for Oktoberfest in Munich and Perth.

Dirndls, the tight-waisted, wide-skirt outfit with a lace-up bodice, became a high fashion statement for the upper class in the 1870s, previously being worn by women who worked as servants in the mid-1800s. Meanwhile German men wore lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders) for outdoor activities like horse riding and hunting with one pair of traditionally-made lederhosen lasting a lifetime. 

April Hardie, manager at Doyles Costumes Wangara said, “Retirement homes and older communities have started to do their own private events around Oktoberfest, but the main demographic we sell to is younger people going to Oktoberfest in the Gardens at Langley Park.”

Many university students experienced Oktoberfest for the first time in 2023, making it a perfect occasion to indulge in German culture with mates.

Curtin University student Ronan Fitzgerald said, “Oktoberfest definitely got me to embrace German clothing styles and German beer. I saw it advertised on social media and it appealed to me as something new and unique.”

Categories: Culture, General