Politics For Members

What is Austria's beer party and why are they surging in the polls?

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
What is Austria's beer party and why are they surging in the polls?
This file photo taken on September 9, 2022 shows Dominik Wlazny, founder of the Beer Party (Bierpartei), as he presented posters for his presidential campaign in downtown Vienna, Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Austria's so-called “Beer Party” is polling in third place ahead of Vienna's crucial state election. Could a beer fountain in the middle of Austria's capital become a reality?


The Beer Party is currently polling at 12 percent ahead of the Vienna state election, that's ahead of the centre-right ÖVP party who are on 10 percent in the latest poll.

To put that in context, only two parties are polling better, the center left SPÖ (35 percent) and far-right FPÖ (23 percent).

If the results were taken as they are today, the Beer Party would rank as the third-largest party in the Viennese state and secure seats on the city council. It's not clear though, who would govern in coalition with the Beer Party, but it would get certain representation and speaking rights in Vienna state parliament.

Who's behind the beer party?

Austrian comedian, doctor, brewer, and musician Dominik Wlazny, known by his stage name Marco Pogo, founded the satirical 'Beer Party' in 2015 in response to perceived corruption and a lack of transparency in Austrian politics.

Wlazny himself studied medicine in Vienna and worked as a general doctor in a hospital before quitting in 2014 to focus on music.

Wlazny said that he was inspired by one of the songs played by the punk band he was a part of, which included the lyrics: 'If you like to be fat and drink a lot every day, then vote for us now, the Beer Party, and we'll abolish the alcohol tax."

The party has since built up over 1,000 members. Wlazny and 10 others have served as district councillors in Vienna following 2020 city elections.

In Autumn 2022, Wlazny entered the race to become president of Austria, which he eventually failed to win.

He said at the time: "Beer is a great thing. But actually it’s about how you can get involved, and you don’t have to be a beer drinker for that."


What do the beer party want?

The party's proposals perhaps explain why they are so popular.

They involve delivering barrels of beer to citizens, providing 50 litres per month for adults and even 20 litres per month for children.

They aim to eliminate taxes on drinks served in bars and restaurants and compensate for this with a 50 percent tax on "Radlers" (generally beer mixed with lemon soda or other fruit juice).

Additionally, the beer purists also promote a "Radler buyback program", where Radlers can be exchanged for what they refer to as “real beer”.

Their policies also include the concept of a gastronomy network that encourages improved relations between local restaurateurs and local politicians, as well as the abolition of mandatory closing times for bars and restaurants.

The Beer Party promotes a “live and let live” philosophy regarding drinking behaviour but points out that this should not apply to Radler drinkers.


Any other more realistic aims?

Besides the drinking-related proposals, the party also has some more serious ambitions. They aim to encourage more people to participate in the electoral process so that Austrian politics can be taken more seriously. They also insist on introducing a mandatory aptitude test for politicians.

In addition to this, the Beer Party wants more resources to be allocated to Vienna's public transport and sports facilities, and they have taken a forward-thinking position on transgender rights and environmental issues.



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