Whether you are buying them to add to your collection of souvenirs or for the purpose of consuming your favourite beverage, either way it is important that when purchasing German heritage beer steins, you are equipped with enough knowledge to pick the ones that are original and authenticated and not end up with the ones that are cheap but ‘hard to tell apart’ copies.
Just like most other collectibles that could cost hundreds of dollars, authentic beer steins too could be an expensive purchase and would cost anywhere upward of $110 where as spin-offs and imitations could cost far less. The price is thus one of the biggest indicators of their genuineness.
However besides the price, there are many other factors that can help you identify an original and genuine beer stein and thus distinguish it from the fake ones that are available aplenty.
The label/Mark- The bottom of the stein should have a ‘Made in Germany’ mark or label. This could also read ‘Gemacht in Deutschland’ which is perfectly fine as well. However a complete giveaway is if the label reads ‘Made in China’ or ‘Made in Taiwan’. Steins having those labels are not authentic for sure. Some labels might even specify the German company that has manufactured the stein or the artist that has worked on it. The more specific the label, the better.
The Artwork - Authentic German Steins are representative of German culture mainly because of the artwork that is depicted on them. The artwork will include scenes and anecdotes from German history and culture. Regimental steins will also have names and ranks of German soldiers.
The Lid- Authentic beer steins made in Germany will have a lid that is made with a material that complements the design painted on the rest of the stein. Most lids will also have a thumb lift, which when pressed will open the lid.
The Height- German steins are a lot taller than most other steins and that is one way of gauging their genuineness. Compare them to something that you have bought earlier or an authentic stein owned by a friend and you will be able to determine their authenticity. Moreover their height is usually double their width.
The Interiors- German beer stains will have a lithophane on the bottom inside, which can be seen when held against sunlight. If this lithophane contains pictures depicting nudity or provocative scenes, it is not an original German stein.
Identifying an authentic German beer stein needs a keen eye and may not come easily. However if you have an interest in collecting German steins, make sure to cross check at least the label and features like the height and lid to ensure that it genuine.
by Marina Chernyak