History of the Boot Beer Stein

History of the Boot Beer Stein

Beer Boot Stein drinking challenge

You may have seen our glass boots in our store, or photographs of people drinking from them. While it might be reminiscent of our Australian tradition of “drinking a shoey”, it is an extremely strict challenge for those wanting to prove themselves.

The challenge requires the drinker to fill the glass boot (known as Das boot) with beer - which if you are drinking from a standard Oktoberfest boot, is approximately 3L of beer. Without spilling any on yourself. This challenge is misleadingly tricky, the drinker usually unaware they have failed the challenge until a tsunami wave of beer hits them straight in the face.

How to win the Beer Boot challenge!

However, we will let you in on the secret how to complete the Beer Boot Challenge and to be the champion amongst your friends.

First follow the strict guidelines to the challenge.

  1. Purchase a traditional German made Das Boot and (if on private property) enough beer to fill the boot, times the number of people participating in the challenge, at least.
  2. The boot must NOT touch the table until empty.
  3. Once drunk until empty, the boot is placed on the table and flicked with the drinker’s finger. This is to bring good luck. Only then it is passed to the next person to be filled.
  4. If the drinker is splashed in the face, the boot must be refilled, and drinker must drink again.
  5. If the challenge is being completed in a public place, the completed drinker must purchase the fill for the next person. However, if they must refill the boot because of their own failure, they must purchase their own refill.
  6. The boot is never to be clinked with other glassware or slammed into the table.

(if any rules are broken, the person flaunting the rule must drink again)


Now for the hint on how to best your friends!

Das boot is designed to create an air pocket in the toe, which is what causes the sudden rush of beer towards the drinker. To avoid this:

  1. Start with the toe angled directly away from you as you drink.
  2. Slowly rotate the boot to one side while drinking.
  3. The toe should be angled at 90 degrees by the time the air bubble reaches it. Keep an eye on this bubble to make sure you are rotating at the correct speed.
  4. Try to keep an even drinking pace and not suddenly tip the boot.


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Origins of the Beer Boot challenge

We love a good origin story here at The German Village Shop. We did a little research on where this challenge originated!

Unsurprisingly, the challenge started out remarkably like the Australian hazing ritual of drinking from a sweaty old boot. Initiation rituals of drinking from a boot started with the earliest invention of leather boots, where new initiates would have to drink from the smelliest members boot.

Medieval excavations have also found shoe-shaped pottery drinking vessels across Europe. Therefore, we can only assume that the boot drinking became either more civilised, or as a challenge outside of initiation rituals.

Not long after glass blowing made its popularity across Europe, a legend states that a war General made a bet with his soldiers. That if they won the upcoming battle, he would drink from his boot. Not wanting to go against his word after they were victorious, but also not wanting to drink from his soiled and unsanitary boot. The General decided to have a boot made by a local glassblower, and drank to their victory.

Whether or not any of this history or legend is true, the boot challenge has become an integral part of the German drinking culture, as well as popular at many Oktoberfest festivals around the world.