Authentic German Beer Steins: A Comprehensive Guide
Date Posted:1 September 2023
Authentic German Beer Steins: A Comprehensive Guide
German beer steins have been a symbol of German culture and craftsmanship for centuries. These decorative drinking vessels are highly valued by beer enthusiasts all over the world for their intricate designs, traditional motifs, and high-quality materials. We will explore some key facts about what makes a German beer stein authentic, and take a look at some of the leading producers of German beer steins today.
The Westerwald Region
The clay used to make an authentic German beer stein provides an important factor in determining authenticity. One of the most prized types of clay used in German beer stein production comes from the Westerwald region, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate state of Germany. The Westerwald clay is a high-quality, dense, and durable material that has been used in German pottery production for centuries, and as such has a long history of pottery production. The clay from this region is characterised by its dark, blue-grey colour and is well known for its ability to retain moisture and resist cracking during the firing process. These qualities make it ideal for beer stein production, whilst keeping the beer cool for longer periods of time.
When purchasing an authentic German beer stein, it's important to check if it was made using Westerwald clay or another high-quality clay. While other types of clay can be, and often are be used, the use of Westerwald clay is a sign of quality and tradition. The clay is also sometimes stamped with a seal of authenticity to indicate that it was sourced from the Westerwald region.
The oldest roots of beer stein production dates back thousands of years. Today, authentic German beer steins are made using techniques that have been passed down through generations of skilled artisans. Two manufacturers who are based in the Westerwald region are particularly noteworthy for their adherence to tradition and the quality of their craftsmanship. These companies are King-Werks (Wuerfel & Mueller GmbH and Co. KG) and Thewalt 1893. In January 2011, King-Werks entered into an agreement with Albert Thewalt to produce a range of designs in collaboration with Thewalt-1893, along with their own line of designs.
King-Werks is a prominent German manufacturer of beer steins that have been producing high-quality, authentic German beer steins for over 70 years. The company is located in the town of Höhr-Grenzhausen in the Westerwald region of Germany, which is known for its long history of pottery production.
King-Werks is particularly known for its handcrafted, hand-painted beer steins that feature intricate designs and traditional German symbols. Their beer steins are made using high-quality stoneware, fired at high temperatures to produce a dense and durable ceramic that can withstand the pressure of carbonated beverages. The company also uses Westerwald clay in its production process, which is a sign of quality and authenticity.
King-Werk's commitment to quality and craftsmanship has earned them a reputation as one of the premier beer stein manufacturers in Germany. Their steins are prized by collectors around the world and are a testament to the rich cultural heritage of German beer stein production.
Thewalt 1893 is another noteworthy German manufacturer of authentic beer steins who have been producing high-quality, handcrafted steins for over 100 years. The company was founded by Albert Jacob Thewalt in 1893 in the town of Höhr-Grenzhausen in the Westerwald region of Germany, which is known for its long history of pottery production.
Thewalt 1893 is particularly known for its use of traditional techniques and materials in their production process. Like King-Werks, they also use high-quality stoneware, Westerwald clay and porcelain to create their steins, which are fired at high temperatures to produce a dense and durable ceramic.
One of Thewalt 1893's most popular lines is the "Old Germany" series, which features designs inspired by traditional German culture and heritage. The steins in this series often depict traditional German symbols such as coats of arms, eagles, and lions, and are decorated with intricate hand-painted designs. Thewalt 1893 also produces limited edition steins, some of which are highly sought after by collectors.
Thewalt 1893's commitment to traditional techniques and materials has earned them a reputation as one of the premier beer stein manufacturers in Germany. The company continues to produce high-quality, authentic beer steins using traditional techniques and materials, ensuring that their products will be enjoyed by beer enthusiasts and collectors for generations to come.
What Glaze Is Used?
Traditionally, German beer steins are glazed with a type of salt glaze, produced by throwing salt into the kiln during the firing process. This technique results in a distinctive, slightly rough surface on the stein that is characteristic of authentic German beer steins.
The salt glaze technique has been used in German pottery production for centuries and is known for its durability and resistance to staining. It also gives the stein a unique appearance, offering subtle variations in colour and texture that are visible under different lighting conditions. In addition to salt glaze, some German beer steins may be glazed with other types of materials, such as lead-free glazes.
Things To Consider Before Purchasing An Authentic German Beer Stein
If you're interested in purchasing an authentic German beer stein, here are some key things to keep in mind:
Origin: Authentic German beer steins are made only in one place, the Westerwald Region. It is important to note that many online retailers sell ‘German Beer Steins'’, however many of these steins are simply copies of German designs that are not necessarily manufactured in Germany. Copies may look similar, but the clay used to make them is inferior to that which comes from the Westerwald region of Germany and generally the quality of the glazing both in application and colour, is also noticeably inferior. Be sure to check for the "Made in Germany" label to ensure you're purchasing a genuine product. While there are many imitations and knock-offs produced in other countries, a true German beer stein is a piece of traditional German craftsmanship and will often come with a certificate of authenticity.
Design: German beer steins are often adorned with intricate designs and patterns, typically featuring traditional German symbols such as eagles, lions, regional coats of arms, or famous landmarks. These designs may be painted or etched onto the surface of the stein, creating a unique and eye-catching piece of artwork that is usually finished with a glaze.
Lid: Most traditional German beer steins feature a pewter or metal lid, which can be decorated with additional designs or symbols. In some cases the pewter lid is designed as a decorative display element and can include a solid pewter animal or figurine that draws the eye rather than the traditional conical shaped lid. The lid serves both a functional and aesthetic purpose, helping to keep bugs out of your beer whilst preventing spills and also adding to the overall design of the stein.
Size: German beer steins come in a variety of sizes, from small collectors items to large multi-litre steins. The traditional size for a German beer stein is typically around one litre, but smaller sizes are also available.
Quality: In addition to these key factors, it's also important to consider the overall quality and craftsmanship of the beer stein. Authentic German beer steins are known for their attention to detail and the high level of skill and craftsmanship that goes into each piece. When purchasing a German beer stein, take the time to examine the quality of the material, the intricacy of the design, and the overall feel of the stein in your hand.
Choose Clock Shop For Authentic German Beer Steins
Overall, an authentic German beer stein is a testament to German culture and craftsmanship. It's a unique and valuable piece that combines functionality and artistry, making it a prized possession for collectors and beer enthusiasts alike. Beer steins sold by Clock Shop are guaranteed to be handmade and hand painted completely in Germany. We stock authentic beer steins manufactured by both King-Werks, and Thewalt-1893, two companies who produce authentic beer steins with many different elaborate designs, unique to their brand. We are honoured to be supplying such extraordinary steins from a truly remarkable business, and vouch for the craftsmanship and quality of these steins. Available at Clock Shop are a wide variety of authentic German beer steins in a range of designs, including the elegant ‘Lord of Crystal’ series, to viking themed steins & drinking horns, German themed steins, historical themed steins that commemorate key historical events including the Red Baron, Checkpoint Charlie, VE Day, The Fall of the Berlin Wall, and medieval themed steins, and everything in between, there truly is a stein for everybody!