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December 2003 - Nr. 12


The Editor
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Germans shop for Christmas
Of True Love...
"Wheel of Time"
Baroque Dresden
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Art Cologne 2003
HipHop Competition
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Weihnachten mit Hummel
Decorative "Bierdeckel"
German Rider...
Financial Advice
Fussball-Globus FIFA
MOMA Film Fest

Decorative Bierdeckel turn 100

   TWIG - This year, a German company celebrates 100 years of manufacturing decorative beer coasters, known as "Bierdeckel." But the tradition reaches back much farther, to early beer gardens and other outdoor venues that were plagued by falling foliage and annoying insects.

The Bierdeckel’s misleading name „beer cover" harkens to the first use of the object, as a type of lid to protect the drink while imbibing outdoors. In the 19th century, the Germany nobility drank beverages covered with silver or tin lids, while the lower classes used coasters made of felt to protect their glasses from falling leaves, dirt, and insects.

As one might guess, many of these felt coasters were unhygienic and gave rise to foul-smelling bacteria. Enter Robert Sputh from Dresden, who created the cardboard throw-away variety that has become an irreplaceable part of German beer culture today. Indeed, the very designed Sputh created — the 107 mm wide round-tipped square — has become the standard size for Bierdeckel.

The modern Bierdeckel features an even more important innovation for the barkeeper — the material has been proven as the most efficient for absorbing beer foam.

40% of all of the world’s Bierdeckel come from the Black Forest, where they are manufactured from fir pulp. One small company, the Katzcoasters International, produces around 1.4 billion beer coasters a year and is the global market leader. CEO Elmar Hohmann calls the Bierdeckel a "piece of European beer culture"— 80% of his product is exported to other countries in Europe and around the world.

Today, the coasters are seen as the perfect marketing mechanism for the entire drink industry. The most colorful varieties have become collector’s items and must-have souvenirs from far-off places.



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