The Story of German Beer Steins
German Beer Steins came about because of necessity. After the bubonic plague hit Europe in the 14th century, new laws were enacted by many of the governments to help prevent another sickness from recurring. In Germany, one of the new laws was that all containers that hold a beverage must be covered when the fluid is not being consumed.
As a result of the bubonic plague and several invasions of flies in Europe, Germany established the laws to require beverage containers to be covered for sanitary purposes. At the same time, techniques to improve earthenware by raising the firing temperature of clay, created stoneware. Thus, there was a presence of stoneware drinking vessels with attached pewter lids for the next 300 years.
By the end of the 19th century, the stein was clearly defined as being made in Europe, primarily of stoneware and primarily with a permanently attached pewter lid.