THE LOOP — Christkindlmarket unveiled the souvenir spiced wine mug for the 2013 festival via Facebook and Twitter this week, and they weren't shaped like boots.
Chicagoans were miffed.
"Wo ist da Boot?!?" one commenter wrote on Christkindlmarket's Facebook page, which was echoed elsewhere in English: "Where is the boot???"
The German holiday fair launched in 1996, and its signature Glühwein was served in the same green commemorative mug until 1999, when organizers began designing custom mugs, starting with a navy backdrop featuring cartoon drawings of the festival's red-and-white vendor booths.
The boot shape first appeared in 2005 for the Daley Plaza event's 10th anniversary, and has been a constant since then, minus 2008's red ceramic mugs, which were meant to look like a winter hat when flipped upside down.
In the second Facebook post featuring the new mugs, organizers tried to preempt the complaints with a reminder that the cylindrical mug is in keeping with the holiday tradition.
The tradition of modeling drinking vessels after winter footwear ("bierstiefel") is a uniquely German one, dating more than 100 years, according to the website Beeriety. There are several folk tale origin stories, all involving soldiers and generals drinking beer from their shoes in an expression of bravado, or as punishment for losing a wager.
"Like in past years, this year is a tall, thin 'flute' shape!" read the Christkindlmarket Facebook post, which acknowledged that the new design was "switching it up."
It may not be the end of the Christkindlmarket boot mug: Die-hard fans still can hold out hope for next year.
"We love the boot too!" the fest's organizers commented on Facebook. "This year we're trying [this] out."