A beermat is a coaster used to rest glasses of
beer(or other beverages) upon. Public houses in the United Kingdomusually will have them spread out across the tables. They are used not just to protect the surface of the table, but, as they are usually made out of paper, they can also be used to absorb spillages or serve as an ad-hoc notepad. Their main use, however, is as part of an alcohol advertising campaign.
Beermats are usually adorned with a customized image - usually advertising a
brandof beer, although they can also be used to promote a drinking establishment, sports franchise, businesses or special events. Recently, they have also been used to advertise political messages and parties, such as the UKIP beermats during the 2004 European Elections. Although they appear to be a disposable item, they are in fact quite durable and reusable.
Some beermats are collectible items. "Tegestology" is a
Latinterm defined as the practice of collecting beermats or coasters, with practitioners known as "tegestologists"Collecting beermats is an especially popular hobbyin Germany, where beermats are known as "Bierdeckel". There is an international collector's association called IBV in Germany which has been active since 1958.
The British Beermat Collectors Society was founded shortly afterwards in 1960 and currently has around 300 members spread around the world. Like the IBV, it organizes regular meetings for collectors and also publishes a monthly newsletter.
BeermatMania.com was founded in 2004 and boasts a gallery of over 34,000 images of British brewery beer mats based on the British Beermat Collectors Society numbering system. It also has a collectors forum and a monthly newsletter.
Other notable clubs associated with tegestology include two Australian clubs, the South Australian Coaster Collectors Club and New South Wales Coaster Collectors Club. There are many subcategories of tegestologists, including those who are solely interested in
porcelainor other specific kinds of beermats.
* [http://www.beermatmania.com/ Beermat Mania - Interactive gallery of British Brewery Beermats]
* [http://www.calvert-beermats.com/ Informative website on collecting mats]
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