With the beginning of the Oktoberfest, the hosts and breweries are not shy of making people cheer for them and celebrate their move to the fest grounds.
The tapping of the first beer barrel by Munich’s mayor is broadcasted all over the world and yet, it is one of the youngest traditions at Oktoberfest. It was not until 1950, that Michael Schottenhamel of the Schottenhamel-Festhalle engaged the extraordinarily popular Mayor Thomas Wimmer as tapster. You may have stumbled across the fairy tale, that Wimmer tapped the first barrel, because Schottenhamel would have asked him to do so after spontaneously inviting him into his carriage. Instead, even the very first tapping was accompanied by a large number of journalists, who were invited to report on this event. At least, Wimmer did not seem to have been trained, as he needed a total of 17 hits on the tip until it was finally safely attached to the barrel.
Today, the event is being broadcasted by the public Bavarian TV station. Munich’s mayor is accompanied by Bavaria’s prime minister, living up to the fact, that after the first Oktoberfest, which was held in honor of the marriage between crown prince Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the annual event was designed as the Bavarian national festival. Shortly before noon, the Mayor starts tapping, so he can shout the famous “Ozapft is”, “it is tapped”, and some personal greetings for the following 16 to 18 days. Subsequently, twelve canon beats announce the official opening to all other tents, so they can start tapping too.