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Beer inspectors allege Oktoberfest 'Maß' fraud

The Local · 22 Sep 2011, 10:30

Published: 22 Sep 2011 10:30 GMT+02:00

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A properly filled mug known as a Maß is rare at Oktoberfest, according to testing by the League Against Fraudulent Pouring (VGBE), which visited 12 separate beer tents to order almost 100 mugs.

Instead, many Maß, which cost about €9 each on average, are only being filled to 90 percent, because Munich’s government allows a variance of up to 0.1 litre, the organization said.

“The tolerance level has to go,” said the VGBE’s president, Jan-Ulrich Bittlinge, who called the results of the test “sobering.” “We ordered and paid for seven mugs in every tent. But, in fact, we received on average only six litres of beer.”

Some results were particularly bad: In one tent the mug only contained 0.73 litres of beer, meaning the customer was cheated out of €2.43 worth of beer.

Click here for Oktoberfest pictures

VGBE, which was founded more than 100 years ago to protect beer drinkers’ rights, has become famous for uncovering beer-pouring fraud throughout the country. Its roughly 4,000 members are particularly active during Oktoberfest, but have also appeared at festivals in Köln, Stuttgart and elsewhere in Germany.

Story continues below…

In addition to using typical tools, such as tape-measures, at this year’s Oktoberfest, the organization’s members are using a smartphone app called “Beer Inspector,” which can calculate beer levels by analyzing a simple photograph.

The Local/DPA/mdm

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Your comments about this article

12:02 September 22, 2011 by LancashireLad
Folks, this has been up for an hour and a half and nobody's commented yet? OK, I'll start.

I heard once (friend of a friend sort of thing) that the German equivalent of Weights and Measures once watched a Kellner at the Oktoberfest. Out of a 100 litre barrel he managed to sueeze 200 Maß.

I understand that German beer froths a lot and at the Oktoberfest there is no time to let it settle but that result seems staggering.
12:32 September 22, 2011 by Bigfoot76
As much as I want a full Maß, I spend so much time just trying to get into the tent and then even more time trying to find a seat. I am not going to cause a scene about my Maß being short a bit. I think they should be properly filled but what can you do? Complain and risk getting thrown out of the tent? I think this is probably what they are counting on though, that no one will complain because everyone is just happy to have entered the tent in the first place. But also I understand the pressure to fill and distribute as quickly as possible.
13:52 September 22, 2011 by Keksi
I guess if you are willing to pay 9,10€ for a beer in Germany, you don't mind the 0,1 Liter missing ;)
21:29 September 22, 2011 by catjones
In the States we don't have the glass markings. You only have to worry about cheating if you live in a land of cheaters.

In the pics above, looks like 1/3 foam. Oktoberfest vendors like to give the impression of being hurried and thus the foam; ( for some reason my Berlin bar can fill the glass with just the right head) why not just call it a mug or stein of beer and be done with the Maß measurement?
04:37 September 23, 2011 by jbaker
Make your own beer, it tastes better than commercial brands if you know what you are doing(with a bit of practice). If you under pour it is your own fault.
17:48 September 23, 2011 by gwbeyer
the last Oktoberfest I was at beer was 5 DM for 1 liter that was $1.25 how times changed
18:07 September 23, 2011 by mikel taylor
Id be happy to pay 9 euros for a 90% beer and be in Munich right now rather I'm stuck in Texas and hating it, oh I miss my homeland, maybe next year,

the short beers are a small trade off, means your vision is a little better for looking at the girls,,
08:14 September 25, 2011 by DepotCat
In the UK a pint should mean a pint of beer with froth on top. Foreign bar workers arn't used to being asked to top up a beer especially real ale. They think the customers are picking on them, but I explain that it's all to do with weights and measures and a campaign to demand that beer is topped up to the rim of the pint glass. Some pubs used glasses larger than a pint with a pint mark further down from the rim. The froth had to be over the top of that mark. Funny...You don't see them much anymore.
19:55 September 25, 2011 by wxman
@mikel taylor, not exactly Oktoberfest Munchen, but you need to check out Wurstfest in New Braunfels, Texas in early November. It's located only about 25 miles north of San Antonio in a traditionally German Texas town with a long heritage. Be sure and have a smoked turkey leg. Trust me, you'll have a good time! Here's their site:

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