Octoberfest Success Could Open Up More Alcohol Sales

BERLIN — With no major incidents during Octoberfest, the town of Berlin will be considering selling alcohol at other future events.

“The only hiccup [at Octoberfest] was a lack of tables and chairs,” said Economic and Community Development Director Michael Day, who said it was remedied by borrowing furniture from the Berlin Fire Department.

Drawing in an estimated crowd of 2,500, Berlin’s Oct. 15 Octoberfest was an overwhelming success, according to Day. In fact, it was so successful that there was a threat of running out of food and beer.

“They covered each other very well,” said Day of the three food vendors who supplied the event.

Whenever one ran out of food, he continued, the other two were able to hold the line until the first vendor resupplied and returned. Beer was another resource that, despite quickly disappearing in the huge crowd, was never in short supply. Day revealed that 40 kegs worth of beer was sold in the Octoberfest beer garden.

Originally, Berlin asked Bryan Brushmiller, owner of Burley Oak Brewery, to supply all of the beer for the festival. Brushmiller agreed to provide 10 kegs of an Octoberfest beer made especially for the event. However, after hearing murmurs about the potential size of the crowd, Brushmiller doubled his batch to 20 kegs, which still only was enough to supply half of the beer. For the remainder, the town had to switch to another beer.

Besides being successful in its own right, Octoberfest set a precedent for Berlin since it was the first town event to feature alcohol sold by the Chamber of Commerce. Fears have been expressed by members of the council and the public that the town should not directly endorse alcohol sales at events, even if the private sale of alcohol is featured predominantly in those same events, such as the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. However, with no one getting out of hand during Octoberfest, Day believes that other events like the Fiddler’s Convention and the Jazz and Blues Festival might also eventually feature alcohol sold by the chamber.

“I think we’ve proven we can handle [selling alcohol],” Day said.

As for next year’s Octoberfest, Day confirmed that plans are already in motion to expand the event. More bands, beer and children’s activities will likely be added to the lineup, while hours of operation will probably we stretched. Additionally, events could be added to the night before Octoberfest, including music and another beer garden.