True Facts about Beer Steins
- The word stein is a shortened form of Steinzeugkrug, which is German for stoneware jug or tankard
- Today, however, stein has come to mean any beer container that has a hinged lid and/or a handle
- A boot is not a beer stein
- From about 1340 until 1380, a bubonic plague, or Black Death, killed more than 25 million Europeans! This promoted the Germans to create a lid for their mugs, thus creating the first beer stein
- Strictly enforced regulations concerning the quality and transport of beer in many of the German provinces resulted in a tremendous improvement in the taste of beer, and also had an impact on stein making
- The high cost of stoneware steins, especially after the covered beverage container law required lids, made steins worthy of some fine decorative ceramic art
- In the 1500s and through to the 1800s the Potters’ Guilds were known to have continually pushed up minimum standards for the quality of both the decorations and the stoneware, thus making steins increasingly attractive and desirable
- By 1750, stein production increased in Bavaria significantly to accommodate the over 4000 breweries in the region
- In the late 1800s molds were used to create large quantities of beer steins in a shorter amount of time
- Beer steins come in all shapes and sizes
- By the 1900s, the historical designs became unfashionable and were replaced by town scenes, occupational emblems, common social scenes, and commemoratives of military service
- With the outbreak of World War I stein making virtually ceased, but then picked back up in the late 1920s
- In the 1960s and 1970s many types of antique steins attained high enough value that people began creating replicas and attempting to sell them as authentic and originals
- In the early 1970s, Ceramarte of Brazil entered the stein-producing business, rapidly becoming the largest producer of beer steins in the world.
- The long history of beer steins and their artistic nature has led to museums and personal collecting of steins
- Surprisingly, America has been the primary market for new beer steins of most types, especially the limited editions
- Growing up my family used large collectable beer steins to hold loose change.
- Imported German beer steins are a popular gift from the Chicago Christkindlmarkt
- If you are thirsty for a nice refreshing beer, pour it in a beer stein and enjoy because, "Baby it doesn't get any better than this!" #Prost
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As always, ideas and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. - Erika