BEER COASTERS & NAPKINS
Beer Coasters are also known as drink and beverage coasters, as well as beermats, drip mats or simply as mats. However, the first coasters were actually made of wood or silver plate in the mid 1700s so that wine decanters could easily be slid or "coasted" around a table. This explains their name. Over a century later, the first beermat was made in Germany from cardboard. Then in 1892 a better beermat was made from wood pulp by Robert Sputh from Dresden, Germany. Beermats were commonly used in Germany not only for resting steins or mugs, but to also serve as a cover when outdoors to protect against insects, and to indicate the drinker was not finished drinking and planned to return. The coaster also provides a good source for advertising a beer or such places as a restaurant or tavern. Brewers became particularly aware of using coasters for advertising after Prohibition. Drink coasters also come in other materials. But the beer coaster made from wood pulp in the town where it was invented, Weisenbach, is still the largest in the world producing several million coasters a day, as describe in this online Eater.com article. It's parent company, the Katz Group, with plants in NY and TN, makes 95% of all the beermats in the U.S. There's even a name for the practice of collecting coasters, which is known as Tegestology.
Shown below are beer coasters made by Bavarian Brewing Co. after Prohibition. Beginning in 1946, after WWII, the brewery began to changes the reference of its name from Bavarian Beer to Bavarian's Beer, or Bavarian's Old Style Beer. This helps identify the period that the coasters were used.
BAVARIAN BEER COASTERS c. 1935 - 1946.
The three coasters below, all with a different shape, are believed to be used in the time period noted. The first coaster is believed to be from around 1935 when the brewery reopened after Prohibition. At that time, some ads were being used that used the slogan "Imported Quality at Regular Beer Prices." The square and octagon shaped coasters were possibly used after the Schott Brothers began operating the Bavarian Brewery in January, 1938. The coaster mentioning "Creamy" corresponds to an ad in 1940 that also used this same term. The octagon coaster appears to be from a little later time, in the early or mid-1940s, because it used a different slogan than the other two coasters.
BAVARIAN'S OLD STYLE
c. 1946 - 1954.
Beginning in 1946 the Bavarian Beer brand was slightly changed to become Bavarian's Old Style Beer. At that same time, the new slogan for this brand was "A Man's Beer," which was used on coasters and most advertising material.
The larger coasters below were actually for pitchers or large mugs, while the other coasters shown on this page are for glasses.
BAVARIAN'S OLD STYLE ...HERS TOO!
c. 1953 -1956.
A Man's Beer seemed to be a successful slogan for Bavarian directly after WWII. However, times change and it became evident that Bavarian needed to be more politically correct and modify their advertising approach to also appeal to women in the early 1950s. Therefore, a "Hers Too!" slogan was used (not to be confused with the #me too movement), as shown be the coaster on the left and on other advertising items, until about 1955.
Bavarian's Old Style c. 1946 - 1955.
Besides coasters, napkins are another way that brewers have advertised their beers. They're less expensive to supply than coasters, but probably are not as effective. That's because napkins are not as durable, can be used simply to clean up and be thrown away, used for writing on the side without advertising and may be held around a glass and not viewed as frequently as a coaster. Further, coasters are often taken home to be used and are more collectable. This may explain why not many napkins are normally found from older defunct brewers. However, a napkin was obtained for Bavarian's as shown on the side.