Beer record downed at Munich fest

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Revellers at the world's biggest beer festival slurped down a record number of ales, taking advantage of balmy late summer weather, organisers said Tuesday as the festivities closed.

A total of 6.9 million visitors staggered around the cavernous beer tents in Munich, guzzling 7.5 million "steins", litre-sized measures of the amber nectar, despite a record high price of nine euros ($12).

Last year, 6.4 million people drank seven million litres (12.3 million pints).

To soak up the beer, party-goers also consumed 118 oxen (one more than last year), 53 calves and thousands of chickens.

Several days of soaring temperatures boosted visitor numbers, organisers said, contributing to an especially good atmosphere and a sharp rise in the amount of non-alcoholic beverages consumed.

The Munich police also had a quieter time, being called into action 2,175 times, around 100 times fewer than last year.

There were also fewer incidents of stein glasses being used to clobber other visitors round the head and significantly fewer cases of alcohol-induced unconsciousness, authorities said.

"Happily, the upward trend of attacks with beer glasses did not continue this year," said the police in its concluding report on the festival. There were 58 cases, compared to 62 in 2010," the police added.

While this is the 201st anniversary of the beer fest, it is only the 178th edition, as the event was cancelled during two cholera outbreaks and World Wars I and II as well as economic and political crises.

This year's event also had at least 11 more visitors as the Bayern Munich football stars were allowed to attend the festival after a solid start to the season.

Following a dire start to last year's campaign, Bayern's then coach Louis van Gaal ordered his players to attend a punitive training session instead of enjoying a few quiet beers.

Among the 4,750 items recovered at the lost-and-found office was a viking helmet, a megaphone and a pair of dentures.

© 2011 AFP

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