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Oktoberfest on the Defensive

Monday, 22 Sep 2008 | 10:12 AM ET

CNBC.com's Kim Khan is temporarily hijacking Eurocentric to provide blogs on the business of brewing from Oktoberfest in Munich.

There are two types of seating at the Oktoberfest tents: reserved and unreserved. My attempt at entering the reserved seating was blocked by security, press pass notwithstanding.

But eventually I made my way into the corporate area. The pharmaceutical sector was well represented. That's probably because it's one of the biggest industries in Germany, but the number of workers for drug makers in attendance was huge compared to those of financial services companies.

Pharmas are one of the traditional defensive sector plays, along with food and energy.

An informal survey indicates that while people are cutting back on discretional spending there is still room for special events like Oktoberfest. But banks seem to be doing a lot to not just rein in entertainment spending, but to appear that they are being thrifty.

In contrast to the World Economic Forum in Davos, bankers are reluctant to talk at all to the press on the record.

There's also more beer here than at Davos.

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