Official Steinholding Rules

In the experience of the U.S. Steinholding Association, rules and enforcement are critically important to the legitimacy of any competition. In order to ensure that all competitors are being judged fairly and to the same standards, our Executive Rules Committee has created the following rules, which are updated periodically to improve clarity for competitors and judges alike. It is important for all competitors to know them in advance and incorporate them into their training early on to ensure good form, so if you are planning to host a competition, share these rules with all potential competitors. The images below help to demonstrate the rules visually.

Official U.S. Steinholding Association Rules

Version 1.3 – Updated May 2020

How to Compete and Win:

  1. The competitor who can hold their stein with proper form (as described in the rules below) for the longest without being disqualified by the judge will be considered the winner.
  2. An infraction of any rule will result in a strike being issued by the competition judge. After two strikes, the third strike results in immediate disqualification of the competitor.
  3. If any amount of beer spills or drips off of the stein, the competitor is disqualified, regardless of the number of strikes previously assigned.
  4. Once the match has started and the competitor has extended their arm, they may not set the stein back down, switch hands, or touch the stein with their off-hand to make any adjustments to grip.


The Rules:

  1. A 1L dimpled glass stein with handle must be used. The stein itself should weigh approximately 3 lbs. Steins used for any given competition should be of the same brand and style, and should be provided by the establishment hosting the competition to ensure consistency.
  2. The stein must be filled with liquid to the 1L lip.
  3. The stein must be gripped by the handle.
  4. The thumb may not rest on top of the stein handle; it must rest on the other fingers.
  5. The pinkie finger may be held outside of the handle. If the pinkie is outside the handle, it may only touch the handle, not the main body of the stein.
  6. The stein must be gripped such that the front of the stein faces away from the competitor. The stein may not be gripped sideways.
  7. Limited arching of the back is tolerable, however only minimal leaning is acceptable. In the vertical plane, the competitor’s elbow must never cross behind the front of the hips or the front of the ankle of either foot.
  8. Leaning to the left or right side is unacceptable; the upper torso may not be noticeably angled to the left or right side and the line between a competitor’s shoulder blades should remain close to parallel to the ground.
  9. The stein must be held out directly in front of the competitor, not out to the side. The line between a competitor’s shoulders should remain close to perpendicular with the arm holding the stein.
  10. The arm holding the stein must remain close to parallel with the ground and should be extended straight with no bending at the elbow.
  11. The arm holding the stein must remain separated from the chest of the competitor. The chest may not be used as a shelf to support the arm.
  12. The off-hand should remain at the competitor’s side or back and may not touch or support the arm holding the stein.
  13. Competitors may not contact any other structures, objects, or people during the competition.
  14. Competitors must stand within their personal area and may not move more than is necessary to make adjustments ensuring proper form during the competition.
  15. If any amount of beer spills or drips off of the stein, the competitor is disqualified, regardless of the number of strikes previously assigned. NOTE: During outdoor competitions or humid conditions, judges should be sure to differentiate between dripping resulting from condensation or sweat, and dripping resulting from beer spillage.

U.S. Steinholding Association Competition Apparel:

  1. No brace, support, or strap of any kind may be worn during competition.
  2. Athletic compression clothing is acceptable, however stiff or supportive clothing (such as a bench press shirt) may not be worn.
  3. The elbow of each competitor must be visible to the judge to ensure straightness at all times. If a competitor is wearing a shirt with loose sleeves that go past the elbow, the competitor should be asked to roll up the sleeve so that the elbow can be viewed.
  4. Use of grip powders, pine tar, or any similar substance is prohibited.

U.S. Steinholding Association Judging Guidelines:

  1. Within the first 60 seconds of a competition, judges may provide corrections to competitors (hold higher, straighten back, straighten elbow, etc.) without assigning an official strike. This does not apply to spillage, which results in immediate disqualification even during the first 60 seconds.
  2. Judges should be conservative but consistent and fair when assessing competitors.
  3. Failing to adhere to all of the rules or being too lenient with judging will hurt the reputation of an establishment and improperly prepare competitors for higher levels of competition.

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