Frustrated – where the heck are my Oktoberfests?

Norman Miller

I have a self-imposed ban on buying fall seasonals prior to Sept. 1, but once that day rolls around I head to local liquor store to pick up a few of my favorite Oktoberfest-style beers.

But, this year, I had trouble doing that. Oktoberfests were scarce.

The two stores I went to were nearly devoid of Oktoberfests, my favorite style of seasonal beer. Sure, there were a couple, but some of my favorites – Spaten and Hofbrau and others – were no where to be found. 

For a second, I wondered why, and then I quickly realized why – the culprit is pumpkin beers. I saw end caps full of pumpkin beers, coolers with shelf after shelf of pumpkin beers, while the Oktoberfests were tucked to the side.

Pumpkin beers are outrageously popular and now more and more breweries are producing pumpkin beers. Heck, some breweries have more than one version.

The unfortunate consequence is that Oktoberfest lovers are being hurt. Unless you go to a liquor store with a large beer selection like Julio’s Liquors or the Craft Beer Cellar, most local liquor stores have limited shelf and cooler space they are going to dedicate to seasonals.

The first liquor store I went to had five Oktoberfest beers to 21 pumpkin beers. The second store had six Oktoberfest beers to 23 pumpkin beers. That’s out of whack.

I get it. They’re popular. People are buying them, so breweries are going to keep making them and liquor stores are going to carry them.

This is not a rant against pumpkin beers – I enjoy several – but I really hate their popularity. I’d love to be able to go to a normal store and find a dozen different Oktoberfest beers, but I’m stuck struggling to find some.

Come on people, give Oktoberfests a chance – I’m pretty sure a lot of you will be surprised and maybe, just maybe, if enough people begin to like them, we’ll see the number of pumpkin vs. Oktorberfest beers available get a little bit closer.