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    

Vintage Red Fox Ale Beer Wood Crate - Waterbury CtSuper Rare Knapstein Brewing Company Wood Beer Coaster New LondonRegal Supreme Beer Coaster ~ Peoples Brewing, Duluth, Mn ~ Unused/nice & VintageLot Of 200 New Sealed Landshark Fin Beer Coasters Bar 2013 MargaritavilleVintage Hamm's Beer Can, Hamm's Bear Hat , Bottle Caps, Coasters8 - Falstaff Beer Leather CoastersWacker Beer Coaster Lancaster Pa 15+ New Leinenkugels Beer Coasters! Leiney Lovers Lot! Big Eddy, Red, Hefe, 1888Rolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Star Bottles NipRolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Bottles LibraryMetz Beer Vintage 6 League Baseball Schedule From 1947 Omaha, NebraskaHuge Lot Of Beer CoastersBeer Tap Handle J.w. Dundee I.p.a. Free Matching Coasters The Game Room Store Nj10 X Kronenbourg 1664 Beer Coasters, Any Hour Happy Hour, NewSelection Of 5 Different International Beers Beermat/coasters From Australia1940's Stanton's Ales & Beer Set Coaster- Troy Ny -4" #014 "delicious"Rolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Extra Pale Pa Rolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Star Bottles NipRolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Extra Pale Pa Rolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Bottles LibraryRolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Bottles Label Four Vintage Newhall Pottery Worthington Beer Dickens Ceramic CoastersVintage Miller High Life Girl On The Moon Beer CoasterLot Of (12) Diff Oregon Brewing Micro Beer Labels-mint50 Columbia Beer Coasters Shenandoah PaHeineken Duffle Bag Sport Beer Mat Bar Coaster Larger Bitter Bottle Can LabelLot Of 12 Beer Coaster Goldwater Mother Road Grand Canyon Historic Tour De Fat6 Vintage Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer CoastersBangkok Beer Bar & Burma Beer & Assorted Coasters Set Of 12Vintage Hull"s Beer Coaster1940's Stanton's Ales & Beer Coaster- Troy Ny -4" #032 "absolutely The Best"Lot Of 3 1950's Stegmaier Beer Coasters "take Home Big Quart" #010-pennsylvaniaRolling Rock How We Roll Horse Beer Bar 125 Lot Sleeve Coasters Bottles Label New Belgium 100 Coasters Postcards Tour De Fat Bicycles Race Beer Colorado Craft10 Craft Beer Coasters/mats-southern Tier-pumpking/warlock,falling Sky,full Sail 5 Vintage Harley Davidson Miller Lite 100 Year Beer Coasters New Old Stock !!!!Par-ex All Malt, Dickens Ale 1930s Beer Coaster, Mat, Syracuse Brewery, New YorkHeineken Beer CoastersTwo Professionally Framed Reading Beer/sunshine Beer Coasters-pre 1976Schiltz Lady On Globe Vintage Beer Tin Sign Coaster Dated 1970 Rare Nos!5 Blank Menu Sheets Adv. Piels Beer, W/gnomes' Picnic, Geese, Fire, Rabbit, Lot Of (21) Diff Michigan Brewing Micro Beer Labels-mintSet Of (21) Diff Michigan Micro Beer Labels -mintSet Of (25) Diff Pennsylvania Micro Beer Labels -mintSet Of (21) Diff California (some Oversized) Micro Beer Labels -mintFree State Supreme Beer 4" Coaster Baltimore Maryland Tick-tack-toe 10 Xstella Artois Beer Coasters, World Beer Masters, NewSet Of (5) Diff Groundhog Brew Micro Beer Labels -st Mary's, Pa-mintSet Of (13) Diff Colorado (some Oversized) Micro Beer Labels -mintSet Of (10) Diff Massasuchetts Micro Beer Labels -mint21st Amendment Down To Earth Ipa Beer Coaster Mat San Francisco CaJob Lot Of ** 20 ** Different Guinness Beer Mats / Coasters A2 New Lot Of 12 Beer Coaster Golden Road Firestone Alameda Cleophus Quealy Faction Set Of 3 Different Asahi Beer Beermat/coasters 4 Vintage Fitzgerald & 2 Vintage Piels Beer Coasters1930's Bartels Beer Coaster-syracuse, Ny 4" Established 1885 Brewed From Finest1950's Braumeister Beer Coaster =independent Of Milwaukee, Wi 3 1/2" #009New Belgium 100 Coasters Postcards Tour De Fat Bicycles Beer Colorado CruiserLot Of 15 Different Beer Coasters Brand NewBeer Coaster Lot Of 18