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]

British Beer Labels

British Beer Labels

This pre-1965 collection is organized alphabetically by brand and contains scans of seemingly thousands of beautif… [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    

Rare Wehle V X Beer West Haven Connecticut Coaster12 Bundaberg Rum Beer Coasters Bundy Bear MatsRare Weibel Weibels Lager Beer Connecticut Coaster20 Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Beer Coasters Jd Mats20 Holden Cars Dealerships Beer CoastersNice Beer Coaster From Czech Republic Printed Russia: Pilsner UrquellRare Beer Coaster Lackawanna Brewing Co Scranton 1930s1 X Fieva Lager Papua New Guinea South Pacific Beer Coaster/matNice Beer Coaster From Czech Republic Printed Italy: Velkopopovicky Kozel1 X Old Retro Guinness Beer Coaster/mat1 X Royal Extra The Lion Stout Carib Brewery Trinidad Beer Coaster/mat1 X Old Collectable Tooheys Flag Ale Beer Coaster/matNice Beer Coaster The Netherlands Printed Italy: Heineken The Sub Living Room***30 X Lot Of New Peroni Italy Thick Beer Coasters**Face Mats 20 Double-sided Hilarious Beer Mats Clip On To Your Nose Coasters NewNice Beer Coaster From Turkey: Efes Pilsen Futsal Ligi - FootballLarge Lot (20+) Old Beer Coasters From New Jersey 5 Vintage Fitgers Beer Coasters Duluth Mn Fitger Great Lakes Ore Boat Minnesota48 Vb Victoria Bitter Beer Coasters MatsNice Beer Coaster From Spain Printed In Italy: San Miguel Where Next?1 X Bir Bintang Harbour Tavern Hyatt Bumi Surabaya (small) Beer Coaster/mat1 X Tooheys - Evander Holyfields Greatest Hits Beer Coaster/mat1 X All Malt Royal Premium Beer Export Beer Coaster/mat1 X Old Retro Guinness Beer Coaster/mat1 X Collectable Georgia Beer Coaster/mat1 X Collectable European Beer Coaster/matPack Of 100 Nickerbocker/little Nick Beer Coasters - Double Sided, IdenticalNice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Efes Turkey No 1 Mediterranean Beer48 Xxxx Castlemaine Beer Coasters MatsIrish Beer Mats Coasters Sous Bocks Bierdeckel Posavasos Sottobicchieri GuinnessLot Of 15 California Craft Beer Coasters - Bruery, Alesmith, Lagunitas + ExtrasNice Beer Coaster From Serbia: Amstel Premium Pilsener1 X Bir Bintang Harbour Tavern Hyatt Bumi Surabaya (large) Beer Coaster/mat1 X Carlsberg Pilsener Asian Issue Beer Coaster/matNice Beer Coaster From Suriname: Parbo BierNice Beer Coaster From Belgium Printed In Ukraine: Stella Artois FacebookHeady Topper Vt Micro Brew Sticker & Coaster Set Rare Small Batch Beer New!Flounder & Firkin / Bruce's Brewery Beercoaster From The Uk Ok14007Goose Island Beer Co, Chicago Il Sleeve/125 Coasters Bar Man Cave 312 Matilda"chang" Beer Bar Mat Coaster - Fc Barcelona Football Soccer Thailand12 Pieces Lot Collectibles Costa Rican Famous Beers Imperial And Pilsen Coasters1 X Bintang Draught Beer Coaster/mat1 X San Miguel Draft Beer Coaster/mat1 X Guinness Draught Available Here In 440ml Cans Beer Coaster/mat1 X Old Retro Guinness Beer Coaster/mat1 X 1984 Stag Lager Madrid Beer Coaster/mat1 X Celebrate Belikin The Beer Of Belize Beer Coaster/mat1 X Guinness Draught Available Here In 440ml Cans Beer Coaster/mat1 X Old Retro Guinness Beer Coaster/matNice Microbrewery Complete Beer Coaster Set Russia - Pivovarku Karla Zachurcoka40 Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Beer Coasters1970's Lot Of 100 Unused Hamm's Beer Coasters With The Hamm's Bear - Dealer LotVintage Storz Beer Metal Beer Coaster, Omaha, Ne.Vintage Black Diamond Beer CoastersNice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Beer - 1Nice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Beer - 2Nice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Beer - BlondaNice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Beer - Umple Vara De...Nice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Beer Radler Natural - Plastic FlimsyNice Beer Coaster From Moldavia: Chisinau Draft