Contact: Thirstys

Thirstys.co.uk Limited
Tel: 01604 231280
Int: +44 1604 231280
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History of the Beer Mat

The early origin of the first ‘beer mat’ dates back to the 19th century. Whilst the wealthy could rely on a porcelain tankard complete with lid, the working classes were obliged to find an alternative method to protect their precious ales from insects and other debris. Their solution was to use a circular felt mat to cover their ale, but after a short period collecting spills and debris, the mats started to give off unpleasant fumes and something different was required.

A German printing company Friedrich Horn introduced the first cardboard beer mats in 1880. The cardboard beer mat was quickly superseded just two years later with a pulp wood alternative, the creation of Robert Sputh of Dresden, Germany.

Whilst the original manufacturing process was quite cumbersome, requiring wood pulp to be poured into a mould and pressed, the onset of industrialisation soon ensured that this particular method was consigned to history. Mass produced beer mats had moved a stage closer.

The process of printing beer mats started in 1900, although early incarnations were printed with a single colour, usually with the printers name. Later, with the introduction of letterpress printing, beer mats could be produced in colour. This, of course, captured the imagination of marketing executives within the breweries who appreciated the benefits of targeted advertising. In Germany, bar tenders used beer mats to create a running 'tab' of the number of ales or lagers consumed by the customer, with an "x" or "/" denoting the type of drink.

Although there is some debate on precisely when beer mats were introduced into the UK (between 1918 and 1922) the pioneers were Watney, Combe and Reid, a major London based brewery. They used a copy of two bottle labels to create the first beer mat advertising in the UK, which featured Watney’s Pale Ale and Reid’s Stout. Other early adopters of beer mat advertising were the breweries Tennants, Michells & Butlers, and Worthington. Whilst beer mats were available in the United States in the early 1900's and prior to prohibition (1920-1933), they really started to take off in the 1970’s, they are referred to as Beer Coasters in North America (and Australia). Vintage pre-prohibition beer coasters have become very collectible, with estimated values of up to $1500.

The introduction of the Fourdrinier Machine in the 1960’s enabled the wood pulp to be produced in rolls and, with the advent of offset printing in the 1970’s and an enthusiastic uptake from public houses; beer mats became a common site in drinking establishments throughout the UK. Mass production and distribution had begun. Another for recent innovation has been the bleaching of the pulpwood to provide a bright white surface for printing, prior to this beer mats had a dull 'grey' surface.

Over the years, many breweries have used beer mats to advertise their wares and this has spawned a myriad of enthusiastic collectors, who are known as Tegestologists. The term Tegestology arises from the Latin word “teges” which refers to a mat or covering made of sedge or rushes.

In the late 1990’s Thirstys introduced a new production technique to the beer mat industry, which enabled beer mats to become an affordable and viable advertising tool for any business or individual. Beer mats were no longer the preserve of the major breweries and multi-national companies. This innovation has ensured, that in spite of the predicted demise of the beer mat, it has in fact, become a marketing tool of choice for any business seeking to target their market on a budget. Which almost certainly explains why it is estimated that some 5.5 billion beer mats are manufactured annually.

Today, you are as likely to see a beer mat depicting a wedding anniversary or advertising a box of chocolates, as you are to see one promoting beer.

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What Our Clients Say

  • I cant thank you guys enough for what you are doing for me, from the first phone call, I've spoken to Debbie, Leigh and Andrea and you are all lovely, efficient and very helpful - its rare to find a supplier like that & I really really appreciate it.

    I cant thank you guys enough for what you are doing for me, from the first phone call, I've spoken to Debbie, Leigh and Andrea and you are all lovely, efficient and very helpful - its rare to find a supplier like that & I really really appreciate it.

    Mike P. - Promotional Company

  • Received – excellent product and service – much appreciated - many thanks

    Received – excellent product and service – much appreciated - many thanks

    Brian B. - Interior Design Company

  • Got to say your customer service is second to none. You are without doubt the most efficient company I deal with.

    Got to say your customer service is second to none. You are without doubt the most efficient company I deal with.

    Irene H. NHS PCT

  • Brilliant, thanks again for all the quick work. Just got them and they look fantastic. Customer service is tip top too, thanks again for your help.

    Brilliant, thanks again for all the quick work. Just got them and they look fantastic. Customer service is tip top too, thanks again for your help.

    Stuart H. - Print Company

  • Just wanted to say I LOVE the beer mats – thank you so much they look absolutely amazing!

    Just wanted to say I LOVE the beer mats – thank you so much they look absolutely amazing!

    Carly M. - Marketing Manager, Solicitors

  • Just to say I have received the beer mats.

    Thank you for your efficiency and for all of the help with them - I have had a number of compliments on them already!!

    Just to say I have received the beer mats.

    Thank you for your efficiency and for all of the help with them - I have had a number of compliments on them already!!

    Sasha. - Beer mats for Birthday Celebration

  • The Beermats have arrived (so I’ve been told- I’m not in this week) and apparently they look great! so hopefully we should be working together again, many thanks for all your help

    The Beermats have arrived (so I’ve been told- I’m not in this week) and apparently they look great! so hopefully we should be working together again, many thanks for all your help

    Jane. - UK based pub

  • I would like to say what a great job you have done - You’re nice people, and really really good at your job. My client has not seen them yet, but I am confident that they will be happy.

    Many thanks for the hard work, you and your team did on getting these out on time.

    I would like to say what a great job you have done - You’re nice people, and really really good at your job. My client has not seen them yet, but I am confident that they will be happy.

    Many thanks for the hard work, you and your team did on getting these out on time.

    Rob. - Print Broker

  • Just a quick note to say we got our beer-mats today and they exceed our expectations, many thanks. - The colours are great, on time and budget

    Just a quick note to say we got our beer-mats today and they exceed our expectations, many thanks. - The colours are great, on time and budget

    Alison. - Micro Brewery

  • Just to let you know that the beer mats arrived on Thursday and I am so pleased! - They are super quality. I was a bit worried about the reproduction of the images and colours but it’s all fab.

    Just to let you know that the beer mats arrived on Thursday and I am so pleased! - They are super quality. I was a bit worried about the reproduction of the images and colours but it’s all fab.

    Clare C. - Professional Photographer

  • The beermats arrived yesterday, and we love them! - Thanks for doing a great job

    The beermats arrived yesterday, and we love them! - Thanks for doing a great job

    Martin. - Church

  • Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic service, speedy delivery and excellent product – my client is thrilled with them which means so am I :- )

    Thanks to all involved

    Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic service, speedy delivery and excellent product – my client is thrilled with them which means so am I :- )

    Thanks to all involved

    Sarah H. - Print Company

  • Just wanted to say thanks and how impressed I am with the beer mats; they arrived this morning and they’re exactly what I wanted, it really has made my day (it’s the little things!).

    Thanks for the speedy process; absolutely awesome service all round.

    Just wanted to say thanks and how impressed I am with the beer mats; they arrived this morning and they’re exactly what I wanted, it really has made my day (it’s the little things!).

    Thanks for the speedy process; absolutely awesome service all round.

    Benny. - UK Consumer

  • Just wanted to let you know that the beermats were a great hit. - Thanks for all your help on this, will defo use you guys again

    Just wanted to let you know that the beermats were a great hit. - Thanks for all your help on this, will defo use you guys again

    Lindie. - Reseller

  • To any one that is thinking of buying beer mats, I would strongly suggest saving your time shopping around and just buy direct from Thirstys. You will not be disappointed.

    We are extremely happy and pleased with the finished product.... once again thank you.

    To any one that is thinking of buying beer mats, I would strongly suggest saving your time shopping around and just buy direct from Thirstys. You will not be disappointed.

    We are extremely happy and pleased with the finished product.... once again thank you.

    Mark S, United Christian Marketing

  • Just wanted to let you know that the beermats for the Beer Festival are all present and correct - and looking great!

    Thank you!

    Just wanted to let you know that the beermats for the Beer Festival are all present and correct - and looking great!

    Thank you!

    Christine J. - Leeds CAMRA

  • I have them, and they're gorgeous! - Thank you all so much.

    I have them, and they're gorgeous! - Thank you all so much.

    Sarah L. - Films & Events Programmer

  • The order arrived in good time, thanks for getting this order to us so quickly. We were really impressed by the quality of what you produced, the beer mats were a real success at our event.

    Everyone left with a really unique souvenir from their trip to London.

    The order arrived in good time, thanks for getting this order to us so quickly. We were really impressed by the quality of what you produced, the beer mats were a real success at our event.

    Everyone left with a really unique souvenir from their trip to London.

    Gareth. - Beermats for a Private Event

  • We just thought we would say thank you for the file copies and that we are really impressed with your own new Thirstys Beermats - they look absolutely brilliant the design is great!!

    We just thought we would say thank you for the file copies and that we are really impressed with your own new Thirstys Beermats - they look absolutely brilliant the design is great!!

    Gemma M. - Promotions Company

  • Received the receipt of payment through the post today; just wanted to say a big thank you for all the help you've given! It has been great working with such an efficient and professional company!

    Received the receipt of payment through the post today; just wanted to say a big thank you for all the help you've given! It has been great working with such an efficient and professional company!

    Kate F. - Video Production Company

  • The beer mats have arrived. Thanks for the excellent service.

    The beer mats have arrived. Thanks for the excellent service.

    Mike A. - Insurance Industry

  • Just a quick email to say a big thanks for our beer mat job.

    Everyone is really pleased with the finished job. Everyone at Thirstys was really helpful and friendly on the phone and via email. You also turned the job around very quickly considering I gave you a tight deadline and... View More..

    Just a quick email to say a big thanks for our beer mat job.

    Everyone is really pleased with the finished job. Everyone at Thirstys was really helpful and friendly on the phone and via email. You also turned the job around very quickly considering I gave you a tight deadline and Christmas was in the middle!

    Lucy - Graphic Designer

  • Just took delivery of the Beermats, they look superb! - Will really jazz the Woolpack up.

    Just took delivery of the Beermats, they look superb! - Will really jazz the Woolpack up.

    Neil - ITV

  • You really are great. The beer mats arrived this morning. They look brilliant.

    Thanks once again, you're Super Stars

    You really are great. The beer mats arrived this morning. They look brilliant.

    Thanks once again, you're Super Stars

    KEV - Print Company

  • I hope you are well and thank you so much for the Beer Mats for one of our pubs The Chequers Inn - they look fantastic! SO good that we would love to make more for another one of our pubs - The Wheatsheaf Inn.

    Would you be able to design a beer mat to correspond with our menu design

    I hope you are well and thank you so much for the Beer Mats for one of our pubs The Chequers Inn - they look fantastic! SO good that we would love to make more for another one of our pubs - The Wheatsheaf Inn.

    Would you be able to design a beer mat to correspond with our menu design

    Jessie - Events & Marketing Co.

  • Just wanted to thank you again for a lovely job.
    Received my beer mats the other day and have been excitedly packaging them up ready to sell at two forthcoming exhibitions of my artwork.
    Thank you Thirstys!

    Just wanted to thank you again for a lovely job.
    Received my beer mats the other day and have been excitedly packaging them up ready to sell at two forthcoming exhibitions of my artwork.
    Thank you Thirstys!

    Clare C. - Professional Photographer

  • My customer received their coasters today and absolutely loves them - thank you very much.

    My customer received their coasters today and absolutely loves them - thank you very much.

    Keely T. - Sales Coordinator

  • Thought I'd drop you a line to let you know it was a pleasure to do business with you and we're very happy with the mats.... so much so that we're thinking of doing another similar themed event.

    Thank you for all the help and support, much appreciated.

    Thought I'd drop you a line to let you know it was a pleasure to do business with you and we're very happy with the mats.... so much so that we're thinking of doing another similar themed event.

    Thank you for all the help and support, much appreciated.

    Patrick G. - Energy Saving Co.

  • Just wanted to say the drink coasters arrived yesterday and they look absolutely FANTASTIC!!! Thank-you so much for all your help and turning them around so quickly!! Really helpful – we’re going to start giving them out at an event next weekend!!

    Just wanted to say the drink coasters arrived yesterday and they look absolutely FANTASTIC!!! Thank-you so much for all your help and turning them around so quickly!! Really helpful – we’re going to start giving them out at an event next weekend!!

    Simon C. - Scouts Group

  • Just an email to thank you for the beermats. I’m extremely pleased with how these have turned out and your customer service was excellent. Great job all around!

    Just an email to thank you for the beermats. I’m extremely pleased with how these have turned out and your customer service was excellent. Great job all around!

    James L. - Eco-Friendly Company

  • Just to let you know that my order has arrived and I’m very pleased with it - many thanks for your assistance in processing it so quickly and such good quality.

    Just to let you know that my order has arrived and I’m very pleased with it - many thanks for your assistance in processing it so quickly and such good quality.

    Janet.R-Party Organiser

  • Just thought I'd say thank you for the beer mats which arrived this afternoon, I love them and my Dad Keith would have loved them too!

    Just thought I'd say thank you for the beer mats which arrived this afternoon, I love them and my Dad Keith would have loved them too!

    Ali.W-Private Individual

  • THANK YOU so much, the beermats I ordered for my niece’s 21st are stunning! Your packaging arrived 10,000km away in perfect condition.

    THANK YOU so much, the beermats I ordered for my niece’s 21st are stunning! Your packaging arrived 10,000km away in perfect condition.

    Heather.B - Private Buyer

  • Hi all at Thirstys
    Thanks for the excellent and uniform print quality on the coasters - best I have seen printed on board and thanks for the really compact and secure way they were packaged. Simply a perfect print service, thank you. I look forward to ordering with Thirstys again soon.

    Hi all at Thirstys
    Thanks for the excellent and uniform print quality on the coasters - best I have seen printed on board and thanks for the really compact and secure way they were packaged. Simply a perfect print service, thank you. I look forward to ordering with Thirstys again soon.

    Jerome.T - Taxi Firm

  • I LOVVVVVVVEEEEEEE THEM!!!!!!
    Thank you so much.
    Can't wait to work with you again.

    I LOVVVVVVVEEEEEEE THEM!!!!!!
    Thank you so much.
    Can't wait to work with you again.

    Steve.W - Print Buyer

  • I think the extra care is exactly what customers appreciate - if we need beermats done again in the future we know where to look!

    I think the extra care is exactly what customers appreciate - if we need beermats done again in the future we know where to look!

    Steven T, Online Game Developer

  • Hi - just a line to say massive thanks for the mats that were delivered today. I am delighted with them, and very impressed with your quick turnaround :)
    Many thanks

    Hi - just a line to say massive thanks for the mats that were delivered today. I am delighted with them, and very impressed with your quick turnaround :)
    Many thanks

    Nic, - LGBT Forum

  • Hi Leigh, Andrea and the rest of the team

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for fulfilling our order so quickly and for being really great at customer service. I wanted to let you know we really appreciated it! Here’s the email I just received upon delivery of the... View More..

    Hi Leigh, Andrea and the rest of the team

    I just wanted to say thanks so much for fulfilling our order so quickly and for being really great at customer service. I wanted to let you know we really appreciated it! Here’s the email I just received upon delivery of the mats:

    "beermats here...they are amazing!!!!!"

    So, we’re v happy customers.

    Annie M, - Designer

  • The beer mats have arrived and they look amazing! Thanks ever so much for such a quick turnaround and such great quality! We will definitely be using you again :))

    The beer mats have arrived and they look amazing! Thanks ever so much for such a quick turnaround and such great quality! We will definitely be using you again :))

    Katrina, M - Mktg & Creative Manager

  • HUGE thanks for the most recent Coffee House Sessions order. They came out brilliantly and arrived on time. You guys are great.

    HUGE thanks for the most recent Coffee House Sessions order. They came out brilliantly and arrived on time. You guys are great.

    Vinesh P, - Coffee House Sessions

  • We just received our beermats today and they're excellent! Many thanks, we'll order more when these have run out.

    We just received our beermats today and they're excellent! Many thanks, we'll order more when these have run out.

    David G. - French Brewer

  • Our beer mats arrived and they look excellent.

    Thanks for the prompt production and delivery!

    Our beer mats arrived and they look excellent.

    Thanks for the prompt production and delivery!

    Steve M, - Marketing Director

  • Fantastic service yet again guys, our lovely beermats just arrived!!!

    Fantastic service yet again guys, our lovely beermats just arrived!!!

    Lee H. - Taxi Firm

  • The mats arrived over the weekend & are perfect! Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure doing business with you :)

    The mats arrived over the weekend & are perfect! Thank you so much, it has been a pleasure doing business with you :)

    Lisa.T - Landlady in Keighley

  • The beermats arrived at lunch time, another great job!

    The beermats arrived at lunch time, another great job!

    Kim.W - Print Buyer

  • To Everyone at Thirstys

    This is just a quick thank you for the top notch beer mats you produced for us. They look fantastic. We are all really happy with them and can't wait to distribute to pubs across North Yorkshire.
    Thanks again for all your hard work.

    To Everyone at Thirstys

    This is just a quick thank you for the top notch beer mats you produced for us. They look fantastic. We are all really happy with them and can't wait to distribute to pubs across North Yorkshire.
    Thanks again for all your hard work.

    Candice.D - Rural Action Yorkshire

  • Thank you for the experience we’ve had with Thirstys.

    From the outset you guys have been friendly, helpful and quick to get back to us with any queries we’ve had. The coasters arrived this morning and we’re all really pleased with the result and we’re sure everyone at our event... View More..

    Thank you for the experience we’ve had with Thirstys.

    From the outset you guys have been friendly, helpful and quick to get back to us with any queries we’ve had. The coasters arrived this morning and we’re all really pleased with the result and we’re sure everyone at our event tonight will be too!

    Lara.G - Retail Interior Design

  • I would just like to say that it has been a breath of fresh air to deal with a company that has positive people and a can do attitude!

    I would just like to say that it has been a breath of fresh air to deal with a company that has positive people and a can do attitude!

    Richard.W - Marketeer

  • Just wanted to thank you for the beer mats. They look great and the customer service you provided was brilliant. I'll be in touch when we need more doing. Thanks again.

    Just wanted to thank you for the beer mats. They look great and the customer service you provided was brilliant. I'll be in touch when we need more doing. Thanks again.

    Ed.W - Brewery in Sheffield

History of the Beer Mat

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