The Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München (public Royal Brewery in Munich, also Hofbräu München) is a brewery in Munich, Germany, owned by the Bavarian state government. The Hof (court) comes from the brewery's history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The brewery owns the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the Hofbräukeller and one of the largest tents at the Oktoberfest (Hofbräu-Festzelt).
The Hofbräuhaus in Munich inspired the song "oans, zwoa, g'suffa" (The Bavarian dialect for: "one, two, down the hatch").
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, Munich's famous “hofbrauhaus” was founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. It is one of Munich's oldest beer halls. It was originally founded as the brewery to the old Royal Residence, which at that time was situated just around the corner from where the beer hall stands today. The beer quickly became quite popular thanks to the first brewer, Heimeran Pongratz, and the famous "Bavarian Beer Purity Law" of 1516 that stated that only natural ingredients could be used in the brewing process. In fact, the beer became so famous that it once saved the city from annihilation. When King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded Bavaria during the Thirty Years' War in 1632, he threatened to sack and burn the entire city of Munich. He agreed to leave the city in peace if the citizens surrendered some hostages, and 600,000 barrels of Hofbräuhaus beer.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived around the block from the beer hall in the late eighteenth century. In a poem he wrote, Mozart claimed to have written the opera Idomeneo after several visits to the Hofbräuhaus fortified him for the task. In the nineteenth century, most of the breweries in Munich, including the Hofbräuhaus, were converted into large beer halls, restaurants, and entertainment centers with large, cavernous meeting rooms for weddings, concerts, and plays. In the period after World War One, the beer halls of Munich became swept up in the chaotic politics of the period. In the period just before World War One, Vladimir Lenin lived in Munich and reportedly visited the Hofbräuhaus on a regular basis. In 1919, the Munich Communist government set up headquarters in the beer hall, and in 1920 Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists held their first meeting in the Festsaal, the Festival Room, on the third floor.
The Hofbräuhaus in Munich was one of the beer halls used by the Nazi Party to declare policies and hold functions. On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the 25-point program of the National Socialist program in front of around 2000 people at the Hofbräuhaus, which reconstituted the German Workers' Party as the National Socialist German Workers' Party, known as the Nazi Party. Hundreds of tourists visit these sites, including the Hofbräuhaus in Munich every year. One author claims that some of the first violent attacks on Jews took place at the Hofbräuhaus. While it is true that some of Hitler's earliest oratorical attacks on Jews took place from the rostrum of the beer hall, there is no evidence that direct physical attacks on Jews took place in the Hofbräuhaus.
Hitler's experiences with the Hofbräuhaus were limited to political events and the commemorations; the infamous "Beer Hall Putsch" of 1923 took place in the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, which used to stand on the east side of the city. Since Hitler did not drink alcohol, eat red meat, or smoke, the beer hall was not his scene. His favorite restaurant in Munich was an Italian restaurant, Osteria Bavaria (now Osteria Italiana), near Munich's famed Ludwig-Maximillians University. Before he drove the Nazi party's fascist and genocidal politics, one of Hitler's watercolors was of the Hofbräuhaus. Since it is over 400 years old, the Hofbräuhaus was also visited several times by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John F. Kennedy, and the American author Thomas Wolfe, but these well-known visitors, or the vast 400 plus years of Hofbräuhaus history, are rarely mentioned by the tour guides.
Hofbräuhaus outside Munich
The demand for Hofbräuhäuser in other parts of the world began almost immediately after World War II. After World War II, the Hofbräuhaus quickly became Munich's number one tourist attraction. First, hundreds of American soldiers stationed in Munich began to bring home the clay mugs with the "HB" logo. Celebrities such as Louis Armstrong, Mikhail Gorbachev, NASA astronauts, even future presidents such as George H. W. Bush visited the Hofbräuhaus while in Munich. After Munich's world famous Oktoberfest (where the Hofbräu has one of the largest beer tents) the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is Munich's most outstanding tourist attraction and historical monument. Since October 2005, there has been a Hofbräuhaus in Hamburg, Germany. In October 2008, a Hofbräuhaus in Bremen, Germany, was opened. There are also Hofbräuhäuser in Regensburg, Kaiserslautern, Berlin and Berchtesgaden.
Hofbräuhaus has been operating in Melbourne, Australia, since 1968. Hofbräuhaus franchises have been opened in the several places in the United States of America, including the first in Newport, Kentucky, next to Munich's sister city of Cincinnati, Ohio, which opened in 2003. Las Vegas, Nevada; Miami Beach, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, later followed. There is also a Hofbräuhaus in West Springfield, Massachusetts, and a Hofbräu Beer Garden in Panama City Beach, Florida and Milwaukee. A location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened on March 16, 2009, in the historic South Side of the city; a location in New York City opened in March 2011, near Grand Central Station in Manhattan; and a location in Houston, Texas also opened in March 2011 in the Midtown area. As of July 2013, a new Cleveland, Ohio location is currently being planned to open in the city's Playhouse Square district.
The first Hofbräuhaus in Europe outside Germany was opened in Genoa, Italy, see Hofbräuhaus Genova. There is also a Hofbräuhaus in Stockholm, Sweden. The Marriott International in Dubai has licensed the brand and has opened a restaurant in their hotel. The Hofbräuhaus Seoul was the first Hofbräuhaus in Asia. There was also a franchise at the Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. The Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas is the first full-scale replica of the main beer hall anywhere in the world. Visitors familiar with the Hofbräuhaus in Munich will recognize the affinity immediately, right down to the picture of Duke Wilhelm V, the founder of the original Hofbräuhaus in 1589, prominently displayed in the main hall.
- Otto D. Tolischus, 3 OF 25 NAZI THESES FULLY CARRIED OUT, The New York Times, March 3, 1935, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- February 24, 1920: Nazi Party Established, Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 2004, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- Sue Kovach Shuman, On a Munich Tour, Confronting a Dark Past, Washington Post, September 24, 2006, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- See Jeffrey Gaab, Munich: Hofbräuhaus and History. (Peter Lang Publishers, NY, 2006).
- Alan Cowell, Rome Journal; Hitler's Watercolors Too Hot for Italy's Comfort
- McFee, Michelle J. "Hofbräuhaus Brewery, Restaurant Planned for PlayhouseSquare Land Wrapping the Hermit Club." Cleveland.com. The Plain Dealer, 24 July 2013. Web. 25 July 2013.
- "Hofbräuhaus, Munich". San Diego Reader. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
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