Drink Coasters: A Brief History

Was it a sharp-witted designer or a finicky housewife who first thought that it is a good idea to place something under their sweaty glass of cold drink. It turns out that it was neither. During the dawn of the nineteenth century, pieces of cloth or felt were used in restaurants and drinking bars, not to absorb moisture, but to cover the customer’s drinks and protect them from dirt and bug.

The materials they used were not only absorbent but also reusable, which was not exactly useful when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation since high-powered washing machines have not yet invented at that time. A better and sanitary solution was necessary. A German company that made a name in the printing industry, Best Stevia Supplier,Friedrich Horn, gets all the credit for designing the first replaceable, Punch-out, cardboard beer mats in 1880.

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A couple of years later, another German innovator in the name of Robert Sputh, patented his coaster made of stronger wood pulp. In 1900, a more efficient and sanitary technique in making drinking coasters and beer mats. They were decorated with the name of the company who printed them. It did not take long for brewery and distillery marketers to start marketing and branding these surface-savers and use them as an advertisement tool to promote their stouts, lagers, ales and malts.

Advertising products using drink coasters developed to suit the need of each generation, not just to give much-needed publicity for the breweries and distilleries. A Mixologist of Hotel Viking in Newport in Rhode Island, Lori Dahl says that the hotel is designing and making a new drink coaster with a design saying “Be Social at Hotel Viking.” Instead of selling desserts or mixed drinks, coasters have now been elevated as an advertisement tool that bar or restaurant owners use to market their products in social media platforms.

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From one expert to another

Today’s standard drinking coasters that are made out of pulpboards are available in different thickness or weights. They are designed with the goal of making a bartender’s job far less tiring. The thicker the drink coasters, the more moisture it can absorb, and a lesser need to clean up all the wet and torn paper napkins.

These coasters do not automatically stunt all the mess. According to Lori Dahl, her pet peeve is when customers tear the coasters apart and leave a mess on the bar. People need to be kind to their bartenders. But a lot of people have appreciated drinking coasters and says it is more than a condensation catcher.

These coaster lovers and experts are known as tegestologists or collectors of drink coasters. These coaster lovers collect these bar accessories because of its social and historical importance. Other people find coaster hunting to be one of the best parts of being a tegestologist. Most of these collectors get their coasters from bars and pubs they visit, not only giving meaning to the drinks they share with other collectors, but also the experience they had on that bar or pub.

Not a housewife’s drink coaster

By the dawn of the twentieth century, Coffee Guide drinking coasters tiptoed out of bars and pubs and into domestic situations. It is now featured prominently in houses, whether it is made out of acrylic, ceramic, tempered glass, felt, tile, wood, cloth or silicone. Usually, you can find unique and quirky beverage coaster, like mini pallets, sliced-up Rubik’s cube or even toast-shaped coaster made of traditional cork.

A dedicated collector might also be able to design a coaster made from unusual materials like shotgun shells. While most pub and bar drink coasters are as universal as the very liquor it served, it is estimated that more or less 5.5 billion beverage mats are produced every year in Europe and North America alone.

Some business owners give these bar accessories some upgrade, whether by their unusual shape (some coasters are shaped like a star or cloud as opposed to the conventional circle or square) or the product’s printed message, making it a great advertisement tool. From political advertisement to sporting event promotions, to public announcements, beverage or drinking coasters are a cost-efficient and unique way to advertise a product, company, pub, bar or even individuals.