German beer stein – How to tell if it is fake or real

Today I would like to give you further information about the differences between a real authentic German beer stein and a cheap knockoff. Unfortunately, nowadays a lot of salesperson and suppliers are using very root methods to sell their products.

They try to deceive the customers by picking similar names, writing important information in smaller letters compared to the others and a lot of other things. 

With our knowledge from over 30 years’ experience in selling High quality and authentic German beer steins, I would like to give you some real information, so that you don’t get caught in the trap!

If you look at the stein at the beginning, the imported one does not look so bad. With the time going by the copies and knockoffs also getting better, but there are still a lot of differences so you can keep them apart.

The painting for example on the Chinese Stein never is as clear and also the coloring as a German made one! A lot off the color is blurred. On the other hand, the baked in pictures which are laid on, are very clear again. The reason for this is they know how to work with the computer very well!

Another big difference is the material, the clay from the imported stein is very low in quality and also very light in his weight. The German clay for example from the Westerwald Mountains is known as one of the best clays in the world for stoneware. So if you lift the Stein you will have to big weight difference.

Also, the lid from the beer stein is made very poorly. A lot of the Chinese steins have metal lids, which made in 3 to 4 separate cast and then got put together. So when you take a closer look you can see the edges. The inside of the lid is very rough and looks like metal and you won’t find a stamp. The German made lid is made from one piece and on the inside, you will find a stamp which tells you that you have more than 95% pure pewter or that the pewter lid is made in Germany. This stamp is very Little and sometimes tough to see, very rarely you will find both markings in there!

Here is another important information

Sometimes you find a Chinese Stein with a German pewter lid. In this lid, they press a stamp in which says made in Germany. Well, how should I say it ... the pewter lid is made in Germany, but the beer stein is not!!! Here 99% of the salesperson is not honest and will tell you that the complete product is made in Germany, which is of course not true! So please be careful ...

The easiest and quickest way to find out where the stein is made

Authentic German beer steins are marked very clear with the company/brand names or their logos, at the bottom of the stein, so be sure to check the base.

Beer stein markings made in germany

The best way, of course, is when they press the information into the beer stein when the clay is still wet.  One manufacturer who does that very would be Thewalt!  With the total amount of the limitation as well as with the piece number.

Other companies like King or Zöller and Born, sometimes also use like little stickers, which are laid on and baked in. The limitation number that is written in by hand with a special pen. Each stein has is own number and gets numbered, until the complete Series is made, usually a couple thousand.  A lot of the authentic German made Steins are Limited Edition / Collector pieces. This means that there is only a certain amount of them made, for example, 3000/5000 pieces. Also is each one of them numbered. Ones the maximum amount is reached, the master mold will get destroyed and the Stein's are not produced anymore. This gives the Collector, for example, the security that the product never is mass production.

Besides all that information above the absolute most important thing is that the stein says MADE IN GERMANY if they don’t say made in Germany, don’t buy it! Because they are then not made there, and the chances that you have a fake stein or a knock off in your hand is very very high.

The trick what suppliers use here, for example, are the following: they write underneath designed in Germany or in small letters pewter and in very big letters behind it made in Germany. So, the people think the complete Stein was made in Germany, but in reality, it’s only the pewter lid! What also is used with pleasure is the German flag or their colors. For example a German flag with the writing souvenirs or design behind it.

I cannot write any names down from companies which are selling imported Products. This also would not help a lot either, because almost every day a new one opens up and it would be impossible to keep this here updated.

But I would let you know, the 100% authentic German made beer stein company/brands. I’ve personally been to the factories and know the owners for many years. You also can watch the video I made at the beginning of the year in 2019 on how an authentic German beer stein is made at the company King in Höhr Grenzhausen. This video you will find on YouTube or on our website at

The five authentic German companies on the following

  • KING
  • Zöller & Born
  • Thewalt
  • Lord of Crystal
  • Girmscheid (salt glazed products)

King, Thewalt, Lord of Cyrstal and Zöller & Born for example also have small booklets or tags on their products, with further information. Depending on what beer stein, they also come with a certificate inside which tell you more about the pictures surround the stein or stories behind it.

The company Thewalt also has a tag which says with no Chinese components. Here you see unfortunately how important this is already nowadays.

Of course we carry all of those five companies written above in our shop, and we are also very proud to say that we only carry high German quality products. For us it is also very important that the customer gets the real thing and we want happy returning customers. Somehow we sometimes feel, that we are one of only a few, that think like that, what is very frustrating. But for that reason it is even more important to get the real authentic information out to the world.

Real German Beer Steins

Like I said before there are hundreds of people selling beer steins, but only a few know what they are doing. So if you are looking for the real deal,  you finally found the right place.

So let’s keep that spirit from that very old German craftsmanship and tradition a life ...

Cheers to everyone and best regards looking forward to meeting you.

Your Markus Montag from the Montags Family

PS: I dearly hope I could help you with the information.

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    I purchased a large 74cm tall copper/brass/zinc stein that was created as a wedding present in 1868-1869. It has a mark on the bottom of gesetzlich geschützt sj & sg
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