Beer Battles

New Kid on the Oktoberfest Block

Oktoberfest 2013, Source: DPA
Munich's huge Oktoberfest kicks off on Saturday.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Tent owners at the Oktoberfest can make a fortune. The first new owner in 25 years, Siegfried Able, beat more established restaurateurs to win the highly lucrative concession.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Able’s tent will seat 4,000 and he aims to serve 150,000 guests at this year’s Oktoberfest.
    • The tent owner he replaces claimed to earn more than €3 million during the 16 days of the festival.
    • Mr. Able has spent 30 years in the food service industry. He began his career at 20 with a pretzel stand.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Siegfried Able is the owner of the first new major beer tent at Munich’s Oktoberfest in 25 years. He has marketed himself well, but he isn’t particularly popular with his peers.

To make up for this, Mr. Able is taking a modest approach, choosing understatement over excess. But perhaps there’s a little too much modesty going on here. At the construction site of his new Marstall tent, Mr. Able has to shout to make himself heard over the din of circular saws, drills and hammers. “There are restaurateurs throughout the country who do such a great job every day.”

It’s already clear that Mr. Able himself is one of them – a member of the elite, finally. He is proud of himself, and it shows. After 30 years in the food service industry, he has arrived. The 50-year-old is now an owner of one of the 14 biggest tents at the Oktoberfest fairgrounds, known in Germany as the Wiesn. But as the new kid on the block, he is having trouble gaining acceptance among fellow tent owners.

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