/ Europe2017

Henry Ford goes to a beer festival

Before Oktoberfest let me share my impression of Salzburg's much lower key Rupertikirtag.

Just the thousand or so drinkers needed good organisation if it was too flow smoothly. That organisation was provided by a production line process. Workers had just one job and they did that time after time. Firstly were the (usually female) order takers. There rôle was to wander the tables taking orders and, of course, the cash to cover the order. Cash only here. They would take both food and drink orders and type them in to a tiny handheld terminal which provided the customer receipt. More than this it must have wirelessly transmitted the order to the bar (or kitchen). I can only imagine another set of workers whose sole job was to pour litres and half-litres of beer endlessly. The beer delivery guy/gal would collect the appropriate beers and deliver to the table. Generally it was a matter of tens if seconds between an order and beer being placed in front of you. Food barely took any longer. 

Of course, there were armies of cooks, plater-uppers, washer-uppers etc. all making this like clockwork. No plastic glasses or paper plates here. Proper glasses, real crockery and cutlery. This was European not American. One other worker was the table clearer who continuously circle looking for empty glasses or finished plates so he could whisk them away.

It was an impressive process. Occasionally the order lasses were so busy there might be a short wait between drinks but on the whole it flowed like clockwork.

The was one other pair of  workers. The Schnapps vendors, two women in local tweed, carrying a small barrel of Schnapps, a bottle of something sweet, red and warming and a small basket of shot glasses and cleaning cloth. They slowly worked the tables offering shots which were to be drunk immediately and then the glass handed back to be wiped before they moved on to the next table.

Our table has been joined by some members of the band and as the schnapps vendors near one of them tried to explain to me, first in German and then in Very broken English. We ordered our shots and as I pulled out my wallet my new companion indicated to put it away as our drinks were to be included with his group. He won't read this, but "Vielen Dank, Mein Herr" for helping us feel like locals at this very local beer festival.

I'm betting Oktoberfest may be a bit of a contrast.