I still remember my first ceramic painter apprenticeship day back in 1970 at the Gerz GmbH company in Sessenbach, Germany. I stood watching a Gerz master painter "Siggi" (see below picture) painting this big awesome beer stein and I was thinking to myself that "I too would like to paint one day a stein like this!" The years have past and no longer does the company Gerz GmbH exist, but this unique beer stein is still going strong and it is most likely one of the most famous beer steins to rise up out of this traditional rich stoneware company.
I still remember my first ceramic painter apprenticeship day back in 1970 at the Gerz GmbH company in Sessenbach, Germany. I stood watching a Gerz master painter "Siggi" (see below picture) painting this big awesome beer stein and I was thinking to myself that "I too would like to paint one day a stein like this!" The years have past and no longer does the company Gerz GmbH exist, but this unique beer stein is still going strong and it is most likely one of the most famous beer steins to rise up out of this traditional rich stoneware company.
Gerz 32 Liter Beer Stein
Gerz 32 Liter Beer Stein
The major reason for its popularity is obviously its impressive size. With a compacity of 32 liters and a overall height of 1.20 meters, it is a stein that cannot be ignored and it can be found worldwide in restaurants, gift shops and also by many serious beer stein collectors. Fact is that the popularity by the producer was not at all so high because of its critical production process. A casted stein of this size needs to be completly dry before it can be fired. Smaller steins can be helped out in this drying process with artificial drying compartments, but a monster of this size has to dry slowly and this can take up to several weeks. Even then, there is no guarantee that the body will not crack. The same clay cracking risk also applies to the firing process if after firing the kiln cools down to quickly. All this shows that this 30 kg beer stein item was not a favorite for the mass production.
The left and above ilustrations shown are taken from the original catalogue of Gerz GmbH from around 1980.

The major reason for its popularity is obviously its impressive size. With a compacity of 32 liters and a overall height of 1.20 meters, it is a stein that cannot be ignored and it can be found worldwide in restaurants, gift shops and also by many serious beer stein collectors. Fact is that the popularity by the producer was not at all so high because of its critical production process. A casted stein of this size needs to be completly dry before it can be fired. Smaller steins can be helped out in this drying process with artificial drying compartments, but a monster of this size has to dry slowly and this can take up to several weeks. Even then, there is no guarantee that the body will not crack. The same clay cracking risk also applies to the firing process if after firing the kiln cools down to quickly. All this shows that this 30 kg beer stein item was not a favorite for the mass production.
The left and above ilustrations shown are taken from the original catalogue of Gerz GmbH from around 1980.

After the shutdown of Gerz GmbH the mother model was taken over by the German company Zoeller & Born and is still today in production in a newly designed black rustic style glaze design.
After the shutdown of Gerz GmbH the mother model was taken over by the German company Zoeller & Born and is still today in production in a newly designed black rustic style glaze design.
Most people think that the original scene design depicts a wedding scene and was taken from a painting from the Flemish painter Brueghel, but in fact it was a painting from the Flemish painter David Teniers that inspired the original design as the below ilustration of his work "Flemish Kermess" demonstrates. The Gerz company adapted the scene more colorfully and presented it in a more-like Franz Defregger look. (Franz Defregger was a famous Tirolian painter and the scenes from his works belong to one of the most used designs on German beer steins)
Most people think that the original scene design depicts a wedding scene and was taken from a painting from the Flemish painter Brueghel, but in fact it was a painting from the Flemish painter David Teniers that inspired the original design as the below ilustration of his work "Flemish Kermess" demonstrates. The Gerz company adapted the scene more colorfully and presented it in a more-like Franz Defregger look. (Franz Defregger was a famous Tirolian painter and the scenes from his works belong to one of the most used designs on German beer steins)
Available for purchase - please click here...
Available for purchase - please click here...
" The Largest Westerwald Overglazed Painted Beer Stein "
" The Largest Westerwald Overglazed Painted Beer Stein "
David Teniers work "Flemish Kermess" (1652) ilustrates a 17th century festival accompanied by feasting and dancing. These local "Kermesse" derived from 'kerk' (church) and 'mis' (mass) and are still being regularly held in the Low Countries and in northern France. In Germany these festivals have the name "Kirmes" ("Kirchweihfest").
David Teniers work "Flemish Kermess" (1652) ilustrates a 17th century festival accompanied by feasting and dancing. These local "Kermesse" derived from 'kerk' (church) and 'mis' (mass) and are still being regularly held in the Low Countries and in northern France. In Germany these festivals have the name "Kirmes" ("Kirchweihfest").
Girmscheid 39 Liter Beer Stein
Girmscheid 39 Liter Beer Stein
Available for purchase - please click here...
Available for purchase - please click here...
The Gerz and Zöller & Born 32 liter beer steins above are huge but there is another beer stein available from the company Girmscheid Ceramics that can top their size! This hand crafted salt glazed beer stein with its finely modelled removable harp player lid shown below has a compacity of 10.3 gallons - that measures up to 39 liters of beer! First modelled around 1898, the original Girmscheid 39 liter model form was designed and marked (K.B.) from the master modeller Kilian Beuler (1865 - 1928) and is still in the hands of the modern day Girmscheid company. The salt glazed style used for this stein is achieved towards the end of the firing process and when the temperature is at its peak, salt is then added to the kiln which then creates the rugged salt glaze surface with its unique orange peel-like glaze texture. The body of the stein s carefully formed and hand modelled from clay found only in the Westerwald area of Germany. The main theme of the stein ilustrates a pre-christian germanic wedding, most likely that of the famous dragon slayer Siegfried and his wife "Krimhielde" from the legendary poem "The Nibelungs Saga".

The Girmscheid 39 liter beer stein belongs to the so-called Westerwald "Historical Style" design and with its height of 1.30 meters counts as the largest available underglazed painted beer stein to rise up out of the stoneware town of Höhr-Grenzhausen in the heart of the German Kannenbäckerland.

The Gerz and Zöller & Born 32 liter beer steins above are huge but there is another beer stein available from the company Girmscheid Ceramics that can top their size! This hand crafted salt glazed beer stein with its finely modelled removable harp player lid shown below has a compacity of 10.3 gallons - that measures up to 39 liters of beer! First modelled around 1898, the original Girmscheid 39 liter model form was designed and marked (K.B.) from the master modeller Kilian Beuler (1865 - 1928) and is still in the hands of the modern day Girmscheid company. The salt glazed style used for this stein is achieved towards the end of the firing process and when the temperature is at its peak, salt is then added to the kiln which then creates the rugged salt glaze surface with its unique orange peel-like glaze texture. The body of the stein s carefully formed and hand modelled from clay found only in the Westerwald area of Germany. The main theme of the stein ilustrates a pre-christian germanic wedding, most likely that of the famous dragon slayer Siegfried and his wife "Krimhielde" from the legendary poem "The Nibelungs Saga".

The Girmscheid 39 liter beer stein belongs to the so-called Westerwald "Historical Style" design and with its height of 1.30 meters counts as the largest available underglazed painted beer stein to rise up out of the stoneware town of Höhr-Grenzhausen in the heart of the German Kannenbäckerland.

" The Largest Westerwald Underglazed Painted Beer Stein "


" The Largest Westerwald Underglazed Painted Beer Stein "


Relief and paintshop
details adapted from
the original oil
painting

Relief and paintshop
details adapted from
the original oil
painting

Pictured left is a 73 cm beer stein that uses the same Flemish Kermess design
Pictured left is a 73 cm beer stein that uses the same Flemish Kermess design
Zöller & Born 15 Liter
On the left and below you can see the modern day version of this stein with its removable Gambrinus lid made by the company Zoeller & Born. With 1.20 meters it is still Westerwald's largest overglazed painted beer stein and is still produced with the same careful attention to detail and with the so much needed patience in the production.
On the left and below you can see the modern day version of this stein with its removable Gambrinus lid made by the company Zoeller & Born. With 1.20 meters it is still Westerwald's largest overglazed painted beer stein and is still produced with the same careful attention to detail and with the so much needed patience in the production.