Raise a glass to celebrate National Beer Day with this beer stein in the MSV Collection! National Beer Day began right here in the Old Dominion in 2009, but Virginians have enjoyed “cold ones” for centuries.
The inscription on the lid of this particular vessel identifies the original owner as German-American cabinetmaker John Vilwig (1822-1896) of Winchester. Before migrating to America in the 1840s, Vilwig grew up in the small town of Gossmansdorf in Bavaria, Germany. Vilwig’s hometown is just three hours away from Munich where the world-famous Oktoberfest is held each year.
Vilwig might have brought this stein with him from Germany, but the English spelling of “John” inscribed on the pewter lid instead of the German “Johannes” suggests it might have been presented to him after he arrived in America.
Beer Stein, maker unknown, Germany or America, second-half 1800s. Salt-glazed stoneware with cobalt decoration, pewter. Collection of the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, 2016.02.1. Photo by Nick Powers.