Munich mayor Didier Reiter kicked off the ceremony by opening a beer keg with a hammer blow and offering the first tankard to the head of the regional government Markus Soeder.

The festival will run until October 3 with no restrictions and no face masks will be necessary.

Oktoberfest generates about 1.2 billion euros in income. Beer occupies cult status in Germany and especially in Bavaria, where Munich is located.

Germans are among Europe's heaviest beer drinkers with an annual average consumption of 84 litres in 2021.

On Friday, the German Brewers' Federation DBB told the government of the numerous challenges it was facing due to the war in Ukraine, including skyrocketing energy prices and disruptions in the supply chain.

"The government must react... Without speedy state intervention and aid, hundreds of enterprises in the German beverages sector will disappear and thousands will become jobless."