May 15, 2023
Written by Rachel Gyarmati
If you’ve been around the blog a while, you know a few things about me, the author.
- I love Bier Cheese and pretzels. I will never deny my love for them both.
- I have a passion for history and fun facts.
- I am a Mom and Wife, and I love to add pics of my kiddos when I can shamelessly.
I combined all of these this month when I attended the 20th-anniversary celebration of Hofbräuhaus Newport. The atmosphere was like a big hug and was much needed in a time of constant bad news on TV.
The entire time I was there, I racked my brain on what word would capture my feeling. Here are some words that I unsuccessfully tried to use to articulate the celebration:
- Happy: Too basic
- Joyous: Maybe too weighty?
- Harmonious: Trying way too hard.
Long story short, I was downright stumped.
Then it happened. I was reading an article and came across the term freudenfreude. At first, I thought that the New York Times was trying to be edgy and invent words. Then I looked it up and knew that this was it.
Freudenfreude: To be happy for someone or derive sincere pleasure from someone else’s success.
This term is German in origin and was perfect. Once again, the internet provides. This month, I am dedicating the blog to that feeling of Freudenfreude and why I felt it at this fantastic work event.
In May 2003, the first licensed and “official” Hofbräuhaus was launched across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, in Newport, Kentucky. I know what you’re thinking now; isn’t The South different from Munich? Also, what about opening up in New York City like they did 100 years ago? There are many reasons, but the following are the most repeated in my research.
Modern-day New York City isn’t the best place to stretch your legs.
If Hofbräuhaus was to resurrect in the United States officially, then people had to be able to move and assemble. Those involved in the expansion wanted to bring America a Bier Hall like their own in Germany.
It’s accessible to one of the largest German populations in the United States.
For those not from the area, Cincinnati, Ohio, is home to one of the most significant German populations outside of Germany. The location made it an ideal to spring up in, but there needed to be more room.
A saving grace to this dilemma was the fantastic city of Newport.
- You can see Cincinnati across the river.
- The communities flood in with one another. Newport and Cincinnati trade commuters, students, and businesses with one another.
I see this plot point as a double edge sword for our friends on the planning committee at the time. If the place succeeded, the restaurant would be seen as a tribute to a German institution, and word would spread.
On the other hand, if it didn’t go so well, then word would spread quickly throughout the German community. So the deal could have been quite the gamble in the early stages of social media.
No matter where the newly officially franchised Bier Hall went, it was sure to be an international incident (The jokes are free, folks).
One must remember that since the state technically owns Hofbräuhaus, it was a governmental decision to bring the beloved franchise to Kentucky.
Freudenfreud vibes: Full disclosure, Newport, Kentucky, is part of my old stomping grounds. Since Fall 2003, I have watched the city grow and change and become a true destination in the area. However, in the last 20 years, something that hasn’t changed about the city is Hofbräuhaus Newport. I’m glad that the big gamble that the city and Hofbräuhaus took on one another. It’s good to see that partnership works and leads to big things.
A Place for You
Another heartwarming moment of the evening was standing high above the bar and looking from face to face as the band played. I didn’t see anyone not engrossed in conversation, enjoying food, or sporting some great outfits.
A realization I had from my post was that there are a lot of subcultures within our communities.
The Corporate Kids
Corporate Kids are those who work hard and play harder. They come dressed to kill after killing it at work all day. Then, before they go home, they head out for a drink with their teams to celebrate their success. Then, they will not hesitate to join the chicken dance and know who to invite because they have all the connections.
Their superpower is wooing out-of-town guests by bringing them for a fun dining experience with plenty of room on the table to sign a deal during dessert.
They are the original super fans of our industry, and I am a fan of them. They come to find community and often have the most fun in the room. They typically have their stein, which they keep locked up at our place for safekeeping and great deals.
Stein Masters don’t lay low. They appreciate the work and tradition of our brews and love to celebrate it with their fantastic outfits. Some of my favorites were the gentlemen wearing an authentic Stein Master baseball jersey (where can I get one!?) or a fun German hat.
This is where we get a bit mushy. In the middle of all the celebrating, dancing, and lederhosen were entire families, big and small, making quality memories with one another. In my own experience, this is where I can entertain little ones and teens in the same atmosphere.
Since we are also an authentic Bier Hall, there are also lessons to be learned about German heritage and culture.
Freudenfreude for All
When I found the term Freudenfreude, I fell in love with it. It describes the feelings that I feel watching everyone celebrate and enjoy being in the community. It also is the perfect term to describe seeing:
- Our employees working themselves through college.
- The behind-the-scenes crew is watching their leadership pay off.
- The city of Newport for having a destination to forget the world for a while.
- Seeing a friend or family member succeed
Parents feel freudenfreude a lot during their children’s lives. Whether it’s mastering that skill they’ve struggled with or landing a job (we are hiring), it’s a familiar feeling that, up until now, I didn’t have the best word for.
I am happy to see the Hofbräuhaus brand thrive. It’s a community I’ve been a part of as a young adult, a mom, and an employee. It’s a feeling I get no matter the location I cover.
We hope you feel the same as we lift our steins to Newport, Kentucky, this month. Prost (Cheers!) to Hofbräuhaus Newport! Also, Prost to the Moms and Mother Figures out there in honor of Mother’s Day.
See you next month!