Thursday, 28 May 2009
The other day I came across this report about the biggest manufacturer of beer mats in Germany going into administration.
Big manufacturers like this have invested millions in printing and finishing gear to print full colour and die-cut the mats into all manner of weird and wonderful shapes, as demanded by the marketing departments of the international megabrands. Perversely, I prefer the mats printed in a single colour, which any local printer with an old letterpress machine can churn out. They're more absorbent, and the crude designs, often just the name and location of the brewery round the edges, have a compelling charm. Sometimes you get a amusingly pathetic slogan too, like "Bloggs Beer -- we drink it here".
It's a great shame that you hardly ever see them in Britain any more. A lot of pubs seem to think they're not classy enough; presumably puddles of beer on the bar and tables, that you inevitably dunk your elbows in, are classier.
Also, beer mats make brilliant emergency postcards if you are a cheapskate and don't mind your friends knowing that you're spending most of your trip in the pub.