I see these water jars in many food service areas (hotels, company cafeteria, etc). I'm wondering if there is a specific name for them. "Water dispenser" seems too unspecific. I wonder if they original from a certain style or region, which does have a name?

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  • When it's designed for coffee it's a coffee urn. I haven't really heard "water urn," but the google image search for "glass water urn" shows one of your example photos.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:45
  • 1
    I usually see these types of jars/urns/whatchamacallems used for iced tea or lemonade, not water. No clue what they're called, though.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:51
  • Spigot jug also is in common use (1,2,3) Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 15:38

8 Answers 8


I Google image searched "glass water jar with spigot", and then clicked through to view page for about 15 selected images.

Results, in order of commonality:

  • Beverage dispenser
  • Infuser jar (Indicating that there would be cut up fruit to flavour the water)
  • Spigot jar
  • yes, well, that's google for you Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 13:49
  • despite my previous swipe, it seems that this style of jar is most-often used for serving water-infusions. Infuser Jar may be 'correct' even when only pure water is being served. Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 14:01

It's almost a samovar, but I think the word is usually reserved for a more specific construction.


I know they are marketed in the US as an "Italian Beverage Jar". Sangria comes to mind. But an Italian friend says he has never encountered such a jar in Italy.

  • Sangria is Spanish in origin, not Italian.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 6:23

Having been in the market for one of these recently, I struggled with finding the correct keyword terms for search engine results. It appears that they are marketed variously as “beverage jars,” “beverage dispensers,” “water dispensers” “spigoted jars,” et al. ...The one constant that I did see, however, was the Spanish word “Vitrolero” ...and typing that word into amazon and google yielded the best results I was able to find.enter image description here

  • That word is used in Mexico,I believe.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 15:58

jar, infusion jar, spigot jar, beverage dispenser, glass urn, vodka dispenser

… from Google 'Search by Image'.


Cistern is the traditional name for a spigoted vessel. Proper names like this are being lost in the dumbing of society. Retailers call it beverage dispenser since people are less educated and poorly read. Sad.

  • 3
    Cistern is generally a term used for ground-based water tanks. Wikipedia, no authority of completeness, regardless reinforces the same. Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 2:30
  • 3
    The history of cistern, all the way back through Latin, puts the container underground. Before that, kiste is a general Greek term for container that develops eventually in to English chest. And before that it was PIE kista, meaning woven container. I haven't found a dictionary that denotes a small container with a spigot as a cistern, but perhaps you are aware of some remote dialectical anomaly that escapes my notice.
    – ScotM
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 2:43
  • archive.org/stream/in.ernet.dli.2015.99993/… Applied to various large vessels for water or liquor. There are references to cisterns being used at banquets, for holding either water or liquor, as the case may be.
    – Bread
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 19:50
  • Not sure what the contemptuous social commentary adds here…
    – smammy
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 22:06

The word is kilner, or kilner jar. Try googling kilner cocktail dispenser.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Our Q&A format prefers answers where the answerer has done the googling, and included the link and relevant excerpts from the link. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 21:01
  • This is a great answer. I hope you will provide some background information and cite some references to support it.
    – Bread
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 21:22
  • 1
    When I google that, I see jars with hinged lids and rubber seals, with no spigots. The dispensing spigot is a critical element in a dispensing container of the sizes shown. Thanks for the answer, though Commented Apr 6, 2018 at 20:02
  • bar-equipment.com/en/vintage-glasses/… The brand name, "Kilner" is on this big vintage jar which has a spigot.
    – Bread
    Commented May 5, 2018 at 18:15
  • What's more, the Wikipedia kilner jar is a screw top nothing like what you get in google images. Google images show what Wikipedia calls a flip top.
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Oct 8, 2018 at 4:29

Someone recently indicated that some European communities call this a "hostess beverage dispenser" or just a "hostess". The latter seems most colloquial, but also more toward an actual specific name, as compared with a word/phrase that describes its utility.

Regardless, the term "hostess beverage dispenser" focuses on the way that it is used: by someone hosting an event (or venue) for guests.

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