When you buy a tankard, or sell them to your clients or customers, you are trading in a small piece of history. A tankard is a vessel for holding liquids dating back to the 13th century, when the word was used originally to refer to any receptacle made out of wood. Later, the word came to describe any vessel crafted specifically for drinking from.
The typical form a tankard takes is roughly cylindrical, and it’s not a dainty cup for the faint-hearted! In fact, they tend to be on the large side, holding around a pint of beer on average. The material from which tankards as drinking vessels were traditionally made was pewter. This dark grey metal alloy is constituted primarily of tin mixed with antimony, a whitish, brittle semi-metal which makes it harder and more durable to cope with everyday use. Pewter has been used in Britain since Roman times to craft household wares, although for a long time, lead was added instead of antimony. Unfortunately, as it’s now widely known, lead is poisonous when consumed by humans and has been known to cause serious side effects, from gout to heavy metal poisoning. The chemical reaction that releases the lead into the liquid was exacerbated when a tankard was filled with a carbonated substance, such as beer or cider. These days, the typical tankard shop will sell pewter (without added lead!) or glass versions, although for really special occasions, some are crafted from silver. At one time, a lot of men who frequented a local hostelry with any degree of regularity would have their own tankard behind the bar, brought out by the landlord whenever they visited.
Some versions of the tankard have glass bottoms, and legend has it that this was to enable men in rowdy bars to see what was going on around them, even while they were drinking. If that’s true, it may have helped many people see a punch coming before it hit its mark! Tankards may have gone out of fashion in pubs and inns across Britain, but they are still welcome as gifts on a range of occasions. So when might a customer wish to buy a tankard? Their association with alcoholic drinks make them perfect as a coming-of-age present on an 18th birthday. Of course, they still tend to be more suitable as a present for a male; a hip flask is often a more appropriate gift for a young woman. Perhaps your customers might want to commemorate their stag do if they are getting married? They’re also great giveaways at corporate events when bought in bulk. To mark any occasion, tankards made of pewter or glass can be engraved with names and the date of an event, or any other wording applicable.
If you are thinking of stocking items such as tankards or bulk hip flasks, make sure you look for a supplier of quality products that sells them beautifully presented in gift boxes. When your customers want to buy a tankard for a friend or relative, they’ll naturally be drawn to an item that is attractively presented in this way.