The art of collecting beer coasters (or “beer mats” as they are called in Great Britain) is referred to as tegestology among its more sophisticated aficionados. But despite the fancy Latin name, paper-pulp beer coasters were patented in 1892 by Robert Smith of Dresden, Germany, for a very simple reason—to absorb the condensation and overflowing foam that tends to spill over the rim of a freshly poured glass of suds. People collect them now, but as with many pieces of paper ephemera, they were meant to be thrown away.

Made of thick paper pulp, these inexpensive square or round cards were sometimes used in warm climates to cover open glasses, thus protecting the precious brew inside from flying insects. But regardless of their placement, beer coasters were attractive to brewers primarily because they were cheap, making them a great vehicle to advertise products. In fact, the medium was so economical, breweries could afford to produce coasters for special events, or series of coasters with, for example, different messages or jokes on each.

One U.S. brewer who did a particularly good job with the series coaster was Piel’s of Brooklyn, New York. Its set of coasters from the 1940s showed a different cartoon character holding up a glass of beer (which was identified by a small arrow and the word “Piel’s”), stating “I don’t mind the grind,” with the beer being his reward. Characters included an organ grinder (of course), bike racer, and even a truck driver, which is an image that would probably not be approved today. A set of Piel’s coasters in the 1950s featured the short conversations of Bert and Harry, who were voiced in TV and radio ads by legendary comedians Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding.

Special-events beer coasters include the ones made for the Ballantine Inn at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. This coaster could be stamped and personalized on the reverse, just like a postcard, and then mailed to friends. (A U.S. coaster manufacturer of that era named Absorbo called its products “beer pads.”) And then there are the legions of sports fans who collect coasters produced by Budweiser, Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, and scores of smaller brewers for their local baseball and football teams.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Red Fox Chapter

Red Fox Chapter

The guys at the Connecticut Chapter of the Brewery Collectibles Club of America have created a full-on tribute to t… [read review or visit site]

Bottle Cap Index

Bottle Cap Index

Assembled by Gunther Rademacher with the help of several other contributors, this collection of over half a million… [read review or visit site]

Plopsite.de

Plopsite.de

Norbert Lamping's collection of 600+ ceramic bottle stoppers, Hutter stoppers, swingtops, swivel stoppers, and ligh… [read review or visit site]

Bock Beer Labels

Bock Beer Labels

A quick tour of pre-Prohibition bock beer label designs with nice, high resolution scans. Do the whole slide show o… [read review or visit site]

Trappist Beers and Monks

Trappist Beers and Monks

An interesting site dedicated to Trappist beers and the history of the development of beer brewed by Trappist Bened… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Chief Oshkosh Beer Coaster, Oshkosh Brewing Co., Oshkosh WisconsinSilver Top Beer Coaster, Duquesne Brewing Co., Pittsburg PennsylvaniaHorton Beer Coaster, Horton Pilsener Brewing Co., New York NyRare Bar Bacardi Rum Hatuey Beer Coaster Shangri La Havana Club Cuba 1950sRolling Rock Horse 125 Coasters Beer Lot Sleeve #33 Latrobe #how We Roll Bar ManNarragansett Dr. Seuss Beer Coaster, Narragansett Brewing Co., Cranston Ri25 Assorted Different Beer Coasters From New England (b253). 1950s Beer Coaster, Dick's Beer, Dick Brothers Brewing Co., Quincy, Il.Vintage Porcelain Schloss Brauerei Moos Beer Sign Bayr. OstmarkCarling's Beer Coaster Black Label Lager Beer Malt Carling's Knock Knock WaiterOrtlieb Bock Beer Coaster, Henry F. Ortlieb Brewing Co., Philadelphia PaGold Coast Pale Beer Coaster, Bleser Brewing Co., Manitowoc Wisconsin50 Heineken Beercoasters Beer Mats Bierdeckel Sous-bocksRolling Rock Horse 125 Coasters Beer Lot Sleeve #33 Latrobe #how We Roll Bar ManSeveral Rolling Rock Beer Bar Items Opener Keychain Coaster EtcLot Of 12 Schmidt's City Club Beer Coasters Jacob Schmidt Brewing St. Paul, MinnFox Deluxe Beer Coaster, Peter Fox Brewing Co., Chicago Illinois50 Heineken Beercoasters Beer Mats Bierdeckel Sous-bocks4 1/4" Downs Ale- Beer Coaster Worcester Brewing Co Worcester MaChicago Beer Coaster Atlas Prager12 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, TNew Corona & Corona Light Beer Always Summer 100 Coasters16 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, X15 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, U15 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, WLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Golden Road Eaglerock Sweet Devil Sun Up Padre Island 5 Heineken Beercoasters Beer Mats Bierdeckel Sous-bocksYuengling Oktoberfest 125 Sleeve Set Coasters Beer Bar Man Cave Lot Fall Rare10 Craft Beer Coasters/mats-hermit Thrush,davidson Brothers,brewersfest-14,15,Narragansett Beer Tin Metal Chalkboard Sign With 10 Pack Anniversary Coasters17 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, Z314 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, VEdelweiss Beer Coaster, Schoenhofen Edelweiss Co., Chicago Illinois17 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, S15 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, Z114 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, Y15 Different Microbrewery Beer Coasters From Massachusetts, Samuel Adams, Z250 Several Beer Coaster From Germany (2)Lot Of 12 Beer Coaster That Borderlands Scottsdale Sleepy Dog Sun Up Devil AleLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Surly Iowa Alameda Kannah Creek Firetrucker River North Lot Of 12 Beer Coaster Twisted Vine Keg Creek Madhouse Torrent SequoiaLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Das Blitz Hoppy Bitch Ritual Discretion Big Daddy RuthieKronenbourg Blanc Australian Beer Coaster / Beer Mat 01Kronenbourg Blanc Australian Beer Coaster / Beer Mat 02Lot Of 12 Beer Coaster Oak Creek Bad Water Arizona Wilderness Monks Cellar BellsLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Beachwood Bitter Root Drakes Short Hop Wasatch Fcb Lot Of 12 Beer Coaster Bruery Bagby Huss Gingers Winter Warmer Iron Fist HopcityCoopers Pale Ale - Metropolitan Hotel Australian Beer Coaster / Beer Mat5 Heineken Beercoasters Beer Mats Bierdeckel Sous-bocksXxxx Hotel Metropole Australian Beer CoasterBeer Coasters LotPiels Baseball Beer Coaster, Piels Bros. Brewing Co., Brooklyn New YorkNew Belgium 100 Coasters Postcards Long Table Farmhouse Ale Chair Beer Craft CoAvery Hog Heaven. Beer Label Ceramic Coaster. Flying Pigs And Hops. Hand MadeGriesedieck Bros. Beer 4" Octagonal Double Mellow Coaster St Louis Missouri MoGriesedieck Bros. Light Lager Beer 4" Octagonal Coaster St Louis Missouri MoNew Belgium 100 Coasters Postcards Long Table Farmhouse Ale Chair Beer Craft CoLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Quadro Phenia Bottle Logic Strike Mother Road Green Flash20 X Different Mixed Australian Rsl Clubs Beer Coasters/mats A22020 X Different Mixed Australian Rsl Clubs Beer Coasters/mats A215