Like all of Munich’s six Oktoberfest breweries, Spaten has a history reaching centuries in the past. But beerdrinkersguide.com appropriately says “But when you ask the average Münchner to name the six primary breweries of Munich they'll cover the first five without a problem, but then stumble over Spaten. You might expect otherwise, since Spaten is associated with perhaps the most famous brewing family Munich has ever produced. Gabriel Sedlmayr and his sons Josef and Gabriel II.”
It was founded in 1397 as the Welser Prew was alluded to for the first time in Munich. The ownership changed often until 1854, when the brewery moved to the location it still uses today. In 1867 it became the largest brewery in town and in 1909 began to deliver beer to North America. In 1922, the Spaten-Brauerei and Franziskaner-Leist-Bräu united to form a joint stock company. In 1924 the advertising slogan "Lass Dir raten, trinke Spaten" (literally "Let yourself be advised, drink Spaten") was invented. It is still in use today. The brewery reached the production of 1 million hectolitres (850,000 US bbl) in 1992. In 1997 the brewery combined with the Löwenbräu AG to form the Spaten-Löwenbräu-Gruppe. The Spaten-Löwenbräu-Gruppe was sold to Interbrew in 2003. In 2004 Interbrew and the Brazilian Companhia de Bebidas das Américas (AmBev) united to form InBev.
The Spaten brewery stood for innovation in brewing for a long time and while owned by Munich’s Sedlmayr family for some 200 years (beginning of the 19th century until the sale to the conglomerate) developed from the smallest to the biggest brewery of the city. The Sedlmayr’s still own the grounds of the original brewery, even though no beer is brewed there. The family and their Sedlmayr Grund und Immobilien KGaA is one of the biggest names in the real estate business of the Bavarian capital and further.
The first keg of beer, which is traditionally tapped by the Mayor of Munich at noon at the Schottenhamel tent at the Oktoberfest, is a Spaten. The brewery produces only three beers: Münchner Helles, Münchner Helles Alkoholfrei and Spaten Oktoberfestbier. At the Oktoberfest, you can have a Spaten at the following main tents of the festival: Marstall, Schottenhamel, Ochsenbraterei. "Spaten" means spade in German, and the symbol of the brand is a malt shovel.