Just as the perfect blue-white sky belongs above our beautiful countryside and mountains, the beer stein belongs to Bavaria and Munich. Beer steins, also known in German as 'Humpen', 'Steinkrug' or 'Seidl' (literally 'tankard', 'stein' or 'beer mug'), are drinking vessels originating from the 16th century. A Bavarian speciality still popular today, the rustic beer stein is rarely absent from our tavern tables and remains a favourite amongst our many foreign visitors. This folksy Bavarian cultural asset has also already long become a desirable collector's object- and not only during Munich's annual Oktoberfest! In fact, the beer stein has even been immortalised in Munich's coat-of-arms, where it can be found in the hand of the famous "Münchner Kindl" (originally a monk, but now the image of a hooded child).
Beer steins generally have a cylindrical body (although more rounded versions are also available) with a strong handle and a hinged tin lid. The majority of beer steins are made from clay, glass or porcelain, although metals such as tin or brass may also be used in the creation of specially adorned or collector steins. The most popular designs used in embellishing the steins or their lids include relief-like representations or paintings, with themes such as coats-of-arms, hunting or drinking scenes and images of famous German sights. No boundaries limit the artistic skill or attention to detail involved in the creation of these beer steins.
The conventional Bavarian beer steins have a standard volume of 0.5 litres to 1 litre- although there are special editions which stand at a proud height of up to 1.30 metres, with a capacity of up to 32 litres!
At Herrmann Geschenke, you will find over 400 different beer steins and drinking vessels made from clay, glass or porcelain, either with traditional folk designs or timeless and modern ones. Whichever design and size (our largest stein contains 8.45 gallons) you choose, we guarantee that your stein will have been handcrafted in Germany to the highest standard.
It is only appropriate that we now say:
Prost! - Prosit! - Cheers! - Santé! - Salud! - Salute! - Viva! - Kanpai! - Gom bui! - Shereve! – Op uw gezonheid! - Skål! - Na zdraví! – Zdrowie! - Egészségére! - Jámas! - Serefe! - Le'chájim! - Mubarik!
The traditional, barrel-shaped stein (or "Kefeloher") is synonymous with Bavaria and Bavarian hospitality. The Bavarian name "Kefeloher" comes from the city of the same name east of Munich, where an annual cattle market was held in the early 19th century. The traders and farmers there drank from the same lidless clay or ceramic steins that are still traditional today. Even the special festival beer at the Oktoberfest was served in such steins until the mid 1950s, when they were gradually replaced by the easier-to-clean 'maß' glasses, which remain standard at the Oktoberfest to this day. In northern Germany, this type of clay stein is also known as a "Kannenbäckerkrug", named after the region where the best clay for creating them can be found. In fact, this region is still home to some of the oldest manufacturers of the "Kefeloher" today.
The "Kefeloher" is available with or without a flat, pewter lid. This lid not only protects the precious beer from falling leaves and thirsty insects in our famous beer gardens, but also provides the ideal space for additional decoration, engraving or personalising. In the case of special "Jahreskrüge" ("Year Steins"), the lids usually feature either famous personalities or an image from a particular series or collection of pictures. It is usually also worth taking a look underneath the "Kefeloher", since the clay is often stamped or signed there by its respective designer or manufacturer. Interestingly, the breweries represented at the Oktoberfest began including signatures on their own "Kefeloher" in 1880, with the benefit that any stein found abandoned on the Theresienwiese (where the Oktoberfest is held annually) could quickly be returned to the corresponding brewery.
Bierkrüge "Made in Germany" here at Herrmann Geschenke, we stock a large variety of clay steins in many different designs and with a wide range of prices. Why not choose your personal favourite? We guarantee that our steins are handcrafted in Germany, which is why they are offered with the seal of quality "Made in Germany".
Since the mid-1950s, most drinking vessels have been made primarily out of glass.
Glass is robust, especially that used in gastronomy and in the beer tents of Germany's many fests, including Munich's world-famous Oktoberfest. Due to their smooth surface, beer glasses are very easy to clean and are therefore very hygienic to use. The range of various shapes and styles of beer glass is endless.
In Bayern, beer is most often enjoyed out of the 0.5 litre "Willybecher" (better known in Bavaria as "Halbe" meaning "half") or from the famous 1 litre "Maß" glass. If the alcoholic drink is offered in a smaller glass (for example 0.3 or 0.4 litre) these are then known in Bavaria as "Preußen-Halbe".
The most common and best-known 1 litre Maß glass is also known as the "Kugelkrug" or "Augenkanne" due to the round indents that cover its surface. Another well-known beer glass, produced especially for a certain Bavarian beer speciality, is the "Weißbierglas" (wheat beer glass), with its elegant form and standard volume of 0,5 litres (with special editions such as FC Bayern available and occasionally a smaller volume of 0.3 litres).
But there are more! The Bavarians have also created special glasses, known as "Pils-Tulpen" for Pils beer. These have a volume of 0.3 or 0.4 litres. Another glass, which always proves to be an incredibly popular souvenir, is the "Bierstiefel" ("beer boot"), although these are most often used simply as decorations or in a variety of different drinking games. These unique glass boots come in various sizes, including the tiny 0.04 litre "Schnapsstiefel".
Porcelain, Bavaria's "white gold", is the most precious material used in the creation of beer steins. During the production of decorative porcelain beer steins, manufacturers often take advantage of the transparent qualities of thin porcelain to create and include "Bodenbilder" (pictures shown on the inside base) in their steins. These "Bodenbilder" often depict a scantily-clad woman or in some cases an erotic scene, presumably to reward the drinker for successfully emptying their stein.
"Regiment", "reservist" or "jubilee" steins are also often made from porcelain. These steins originated in the 19th century, when they were bought by soldiers returning from their compulsory military service. These steins are adorned with scenes relating to the daily-life of soldiers, along with inspirational sayings relating not only to duty, but also to yearning and deprivation. A soldier's name and service time were also often recorded on the stein, alongside the insignia of their regiment or battalion and its location. This was a way of showing your honour and pride at having served your country. This tradition ended after the First World War and the steins have since become coveted collector pieces.
Decorative porcelain steins, often decorated with intricate designs, remain popular souvenirs or collector pieces today.
The porcelain "Lochkrug" (Hole Krug) is a particularly special and unusual treat. The top third of this stein is covered in little holes and if the drinker is not familiar with the secret drinking-trick, and instead attempts to drink from it in the usual fashion, he will find his lap quickly covered in the beverage! We will be more than happy to teach you the trick when you visit one of our Munich shops.
The family owned company Zöller & Born was founded in 1956 by Alois Zöller and Werner Born.
To follow up the long tradition in the Westerwald area they started production of beer steins of high quality which are created with great care of genuine stoneware. The complete development of new models is realized by highly talented designer artists employed with the company.
All relief steins, the speciality of Zöller & Born, are handpainted and have a valuable pewter lid to make them attractive collector's items.
Made in Germany is an obligation for them and they therefore guarantee to only sell products of best quality.
The scenery on the stein shows "Flemish Country Wedding" a painting by Brueghel. The removable lid shows King Gambrinus, who regards as the inventor of brewing beer . Literal translation of the German verse is „He, who can empty this stein, is truly a man!
Only one manufacturer in Germany produces this extraordinary handpainted stein. To burn the ceramic of a stein in this size is very difficult. Only 1 out of 10 Beersteins fulfills the high requirements of the manufacturer and can finally be painted