"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


Tegestology is the collecting of beermats.

For two terms in 1971 I lived in a basement flat in Leeds. The walls were simply painted plaster and painted wooden panels so I livened the place up a bit, as students do, by adding cigarette packets and other odds and ends.

At the time I collected beermats (which made me a tegestologist) so these, of course, also went on the wall.

A beermat is a coaster used to rest glasses of beer (or other beverages) upon. Public houses in the United Kingdom usually 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.

Collecting beermats is an especially popular hobby in 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. 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.


  1. Who knew? The only beermats we have are from the Kona Brewing Co. in Hawaii. They have sat in a drawer, for years.

  2. I like beermats (although I don't drink beer, and I don't collect them either). Sometimes they are quite funny and/or have good graphic designs. They make handy notepads as well.

  3. I collected a few as mementos in my travels through Europe and New Zealand - who knew there was a term for such behaviour?

    Informative and entertaining, as always.

  4. Considering SS is such a sane person (relatively speaking) I am completely at a loss to understand his mania for collecting things and as for being a tegestologist. I ask you.

  5. Good day, dear collector!

    We hope that this information will be useful.

    Beer Mat Hunter – is a web search engine is designed to search for collections of beer mats on the World Wide Web.

    Link: http://beermat.webnode.com/europe/belgium/