This is a commonplace question, and I really ought to know the answer. But I don’t, and I really don’t remember reading anything specifically about it in Prosit. So here goes:
What’s with the HB on steins held by so many characters painted or sculpted on steins?
Yes, of course, HB stands for Hofbrauhaus, the famous, classic brewery and biergarten of Munich. And you see it on glassware and steins sold as souvenirs of the Hofbrauhaus from the 19th century to the present. But there are countless items that surely are not Hofbrauhaus souvenirs that have that HB on them. Is it like Warhol and the Campbell’s soup can – the artists just borrow something so common everyone will recognise it? Or, did the Hofbrauhaus encourage or pay for the extra advertising? Or did it object to use of its trademark? Why are all those Munich kinder holding HB steins instead of Lowenbrau etc?
To illustrate my question here is a link to two photos. One is of a typical glass Mass that’s a souvenir of the Hofbrauhaus with both a small standard logo and a somewhat larger variant. The other is a tobacco jar in the form of a student dog holding a HB stein.
If you see pictures of people drinking coffee, it is usually Starbucks. It is the “IN” thing to do. The same with beer, HB is the most popular and best recognized. Besides, it is easier to just use two letters, “HB,” rather than spell out “Lowenbrau.” I do have one wooden smoker/music box where the German man is holding a stein showing the Lowenbrau lion.