Quintessentially, a question for every beer stein connoisseur: what is it made of? Let’s look at history to find the answer.
A German beer stein in earlier times was finished out of natural materials like pure wood or stoneware. These beer steins were distributed among the patrons in the inns or pubs. These were not sturdy and never lasted long. They would putrefy easily, crack, and break eventually.
As the earthenware beer steins were porous, the material soaked the beer, which gave off a stench subsequently. The ceramic steins are also present from the initial times, but their prices were escalated, so that very few people owned any piece.
In the early 1500 century, unanticipated effects during the period of Black Death led to the surplus of grains after the harvest. As the population had been so devastated, there were plentiful supply of raw materials for the beer. Consequentially, this led to opening of 600 brewers in the place named Hamburg. This led to the incessant surge in demand for German beer steins.
The traditional German steins in stoneware from baked clay were recovered from the province of Germany. They were invented to deflect the Black Plague and were with a pewter lid. To get the drink, a lever was attached for mounting the lid. A hinge was coupled with this lid so that it would not get misplaced.
From the beginning era of the 14th century, manufacturing of beer steins from clear salt glaze and the blue glaze was in vogue, which used chemical cobalt oxide to increase the life of these steins.
During 16th century, pewter beer stein supplies were rolled out with increased production ability.
During that era, the glass beer steins were relatively new to the market. They were produced, designed, and styled only for affluent communities. The escalated pricing structure of glass beer stein, made it unaffordable for the average Germans to have their hands on them.
Disturbances in China were the grounds for problems in the Ming Empire and consequently disrupted the supply of porcelain production. The gap thus played a catalyst for creation of an option in Germany. A new item was created called Faience, which is an earthenware coated over with tin oxide, which gave a glaze similar to the white porcelain.
The 17th century saw the introduction of the use of real porcelain material in German beer stein manufacturing. However, the pricing of the steins were still not affordable.
The etched pewter beer steins and porcelain steins weren’t used widely due to the pricing factor, but they took the shape of a tall cylindrical outer shell that is the mainstay until today.
by Marina Chernyak