The English once drank from leather pints

Bringing your leather pint to the pub was an English tradition

Having a pint of beer is a well-known English tradition, that dates back hundreds of years, but did you know they once had a tradition of drinking their pint from a leather vessel? Back in the 16th century, this would have been quite common.

We hardly think of this possibility today, but leather vessels for water or other drinks, has been in use since Neolithic times. In medieval times these leather cups, commonly known as ‘black jacks’, were simply cheaper and more durable than the glass or pottery counterparts. Jack refers to jacket, and black to the material that lined the molds and colored the outside of these drinking cups. The technology was not so different from making shoes, which probably explains the German ‘drinking boot’.

The craftsmen who would make these vessels were bottlers, who also made other vessels. The word pottery is actually derived from leatherworking, as these bottlers would also make pots (which means portable water). You can still see the origin in the pottery term ‘leather-hard’, which originally referred to hardening the leather but now to is used to describe the drying stage of clay. Something to think about next time you raise your drink.

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