Most breweries nowadays have merch counters for visitors to pick up souvenirs or glassware. And certainly when one visits a brewhouse as far away as Munich, Germany, it’s not surprising one should desire a keepsake to remember the occasion.
Perhaps the Hofbräuhaus didn’t have a merch counter back in the day. Or maybe after a few liter-sized mugs of brew, you could imagine that someone might be overly excited and just maybe getting caught up in the moment. And this was obviously the case with one woman from the United States, who recently returned a beer stein to a German brewery with a note of apology, 55 years after she had taken it.
Munich’s Hofbräuhaus, one of many locations operated by Hofbräu München, received the unexpected piece of mail from a woman named Celeste in Maryland. The stein arrived in good condition with a card attached that read, “I took this beer stein from your establishment the summer of 1965 when I was young, reckless, and inconsiderate. I am sorry I did not get it back to you sooner. Hopefully, it arrives in one piece.”
Celeste had been traveling through Europe with her sister when they visited the brewery, and had taken the stein as a memento.
Not surprising, the staff at Hofbräuhaus were absolutely stunned to get the stein back after 55 years.
“We are very happy about (it being returned)! It shows honesty is still highly valued and that significant, authentic things, such as a beer mug from the world-famous Hofbräuhaus in Munich are still recognized. We were very surprised when we opened the package! We believe that the woman, Celeste, did not steal the jug but only borrowed it — for 55 years! Celeste’s reaction shows that it is never too late to clear up one’s conscience and correct a mistake,” a representative of Hofbräuhaus told Lonely Planet.
To thank her for her honesty, Hofbräuhaus generously sent Celeste a package with a new stein that she could keep (and this time with a clear conscience) along with three special coins that are valid for a liter of beer each at the brewery.
“When Celeste found out that we are sending her a stein, she was touched. She said that she will use it.”