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Drank 2,250 liters of beer in three days

The festival started, as always, with the parade. FOTO: Eirik Palm

Drank 2,250 liters of beer in three days

Both attendance and sales records were set at this year's Oktoberfest.

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There was plenty of room on Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday many simply had to be turned away at the door. Inside the festival tent, it was chock full.

"We were sold out both Friday and Saturday with 400 people each of the evenings, so we surpassed 1,000 guests in three days," said Stein-Ove Johannessen, who is responsible for food and drink at Spitsbergen Travel.


Seminar
On Thursday afternoon, he participated in a procession marking the opening of the annual beer festival in Longyearbyen.

There were a total of 131 different beers at this year's festival from around the world, but with an emphasis on Europe. About 2,250 liters of beer were sold during the three days, according to figures from the organizer.

"When we organized the festival for the first time in 2008, we had just under 50 varieties," Johannessen said. "But it took a few years before the festival was established we began to bring in tourists, and now the hotel is full."

In addition to the festivities in the tent, there was a beer seminar and a beer-tasting lunch.

"Next year I'm also sure we will have local beer," Johannessen said.


Extended season
The festival has helped extend the tourist season in Longyearbyen. More are traveling to Svalbard to experience it, resulting in good utilization of hotels. While the Radisson Blu Polar Hotel was full this weekend, Funken had an occupancy rate of about 80 percent. The increase in room nights was a total of 50 percent compared to last year.

"The end of September was formerly a very unstable period," Johannessen said. When the festival was arranged for the first time in 2008, the goal was to create more activity.


Informative
Two making the trip up this year were Lise Overland Johnsen and Lise Reang, both from the capital.

"We arrived Friday and were tasting different beers, songs and greatly enjoyed ourselves. It has been really fun," Reang said. On Saturday, they attended the seminar and beer tasting in the festival tent.

Inside the festival tent, the audience sat and listened and tasted, while specialists from the breweries Mack, Aass and Grünerløkka Bryggeri explained their different varieties, characteristics and uses. At long tables closest to the stage sat an attentive audience.

"It was informative," said Reang, who is planning to return next year. "Now I also have found my dessert beer."

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Lise Overland Johnsen and Lise Reang, among others, took the trip from Oslo to Svalbard due to the festival. FOTO: Eirik Palm

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