The history of engraved beer tankards reflects the history of beer

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Most drinkers do not give much thought to the glass they drink their beer from, but the history of beer is reflected in the beer glass.

Cloudy beer

In the Victorian era, most pubs served beer in pewter tankards that were opaque and hid the sediment that floated in the barely filtered beer. Better filtration systems were developed, and instead of the beer being cloudy with bits floating in it, clear beer was produced. Drinkers wanted to see as well as taste their beer.

Clear beer

To satisfy the drinkers demand to view their beer, glass tankards were mass produced in the 1920s. These were ten-sided mugs with handles. In the 1930s, the ‘Beer is Best’ adverts featured dimpled beer mugs and these became popular. The popularity of dark mild beer waned, and drinkers preferred the amber bitters, which looked good in a dimpled glass.

Non-real ale

In the 1960s, the dimpled mugs were replaced by lighter, straighter glasses. Drinkers were told by the brewers that these glasses were better. They were also told that non-real ale was superior. Probably the real reason was that straight glasses, like non-real ale, were cheaper to produce.

Lagers and craft beers

Many drinkers swear that beer tastes better from thin glass. Some argue that especially when drinking cold lager, the warmth of hands around the straight glass warms the lager, which is a negative. This is probably why Stella Artois introduced its stemmed beer glasses, which meant drinkers could hold the glass by its stem.

Straight beer glasses are the most common way beer is served, but many lager and craft beer brewers have produced their own glass designs that they claim are optimally designed to suit the beer

Engraved beer tankards for all beers

Whatever shape and glass thickness you prefer, a gift of an engraved glass tankard is a great present for the beer drinker.

London’s Great Exhibition of 1851 was the first exhibition of manufactured products. It caused much dialogue about the decorative arts. English glass manufactures displayed their engraved and deep cut glasses. Many craftsmen at that time used a spinning wheel containing diamonds to etch designs in the glass. Though some engravers still use these wheels, the process is slow and the glasses are expensive.

At the time of the Great Exhibition, engraved glass tankards were a luxury too expensive for most beer drinkers. Also, as has been noted previously, the beer at that time tended to be badly filtered and did not look appetising. Drinkers preferred pewter, pot or china mugs that hid the imperfections in the brew.

Modern glass engravers use laser-cutting machines or chemical etching processes and these glasses are reasonably priced. Engraved glass tankards look stylish and elegant and can be personalised with both text and images.

Many drinkers prefer a glass tankard, but some swear by the straight glass. You can have both engraved glass tankards and engraved straight beer glasses personalised to make them unique. The choice of beer you fill them with is entirely up to you!

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