What are beer mugs?

Beer mugs traditionally have lids.

A beer mug is a mug with a lid that contains beer. The mug handle has a small hinge that, when pressed with the thumb, opens the lid. This allows the beer mug user to open the lid with the same hand holding the mug, but close it when not drinking. The modern beer mug can be made from many different materials such as metals, ceramics or glass. The beer mug can also have several notches, and many collect German beer mugs, as the designs can have interesting variations.

Steins were invented in Germany in the 1400s.

Initially, the beer mug was produced for sanitary purposes. In the 1400s, parts of Germany were infested with flies that fell into an open beer and drowned quite easily. Since no one wanted to drink beer with this unintentional additional ingredient, the craftsman sought to create a glass that would only be opened when the drinker was using it.

There was also fear that the bubonic plague would return and start another path of destruction across Europe. This made authorities and local leaders in Germany eager to pass laws that would keep people safe. As a result, many areas of Germany have passed laws requiring individual and shared beer glasses to have lids.

In the 1500s, often a mug of beer was simply shared, and these shared beer mugs were usually made of wood or ceramic, which tended to rot or break after multiple uses. These materials also smelled like stale beer. Some people had ceramic beer mugs, but they were expensive. In fact, you were considered rich if you had your own pint of beer. Fortunately, the 16th century brought pewter work to the forefront, resulting in most beer mugs of the time being made from pewter.

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As new materials emerged, beer mugs became more and more elaborate. They may have carvings, designs and engravings. The preferred styles were blue glazed pottery, and many had reliefs or carvings of drinking scenes or more modern events. The beer mug has essentially become art, and many have become collector’s items. Today, most beer mug collectors are Americans, and like many things in demand, the beer mug isn’t just made in Germany. Some variants are made in factories in South America, reflecting global sourcing trends.

You can buy a beer mug in many different styles. Some feature Christmas scenes, depict cities, reference a specific war, or can be engraved or customized for the user. Many are very modern. Collectible beer mugs can be found at antique stores and on eBay. It can be a little challenging to tell the difference between an original and a reproduction, as many reproductions were made as beer mugs grew in popularity in the 1960s. It is best to work with a reputable antiques dealer if you are looking for an old and rare beer mug.

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