Features: Glassware

You want your guests to appreciate the quality of service you provide, so it is important to observe that they will appreciate the quality of the glass in which their drink is served. Bill Lumley takes some tips from Artis-UK marketing manager Gill Head.

Glassware has improved in quality and versatility over the past three decades or so. To some of use of a certain age, the mention of hard-wearing glass evokes images of the heavy, thick-glassed ones that would come free when you bought a certain number of gallons of four-star.

lassware has improved in quality and versatility over the past three or so decades. To some of us of a certain age, the mention of a hard-wearing glass evokes images of the heavy, thick-glassed ones that would come free when you bought a certain number of gallons of four-star.

These days technology has facilitated the manufacture of hard-wearing glasses that are durable and elegant at the same time.lassware has improved in quality and versatility over the past three or so decades. To some of us of a certain age, the mention of a hard-wearing glass evokes images of the heavy, thick-glassed ones that would come free when you bought a certain number of gallons of four-star.

One glass brand that has its eye on trends in glassware is Artis. It provides ranges such as Gibraltar, which has a certain style and look to it and will stack, and Endeavour, glasses that are good, strong and stackable and ideal for the confined space of a bar in an inn.

The trend not in high-end hospitality businesses is for the cocktail list, which is growing in popularity as well as being the vehicle via which bars make their money. You therefore need a certain level of cocktail glasses to accommodate that. The same goes for the increasingly popular prosecco market, which is making flutes very popular now as more and more people just go out to drink Prosecco as wine.

It’s important to have a core selection of glasses. Sometimes having glasses that are multi-functional, such as hard-wearing highballs, can look attractive with a spirit in them as well.

Artis-UK marketing manager Gill Head tells InnKeeper magazine: “We are seeing a growth in vintage glasses, and in stemmed beer ware, which is arising from the growth in craft beer.

“As you see the trends grow in beers spirits drinking, the glassware trends grow with it,” she says. Beer in a dull old traditional straight pint glass is not often served up in high-end quality guesthouses, bars or hotels any longer, she says, and the proprietors and their customers are looking for high quality stemmed glassware.

Of course, a certain level of investment is required if you wish to treat your guests to high-end glassware.

Head says: “These types of glasses are not considered expensive per unit, although obviously there is some cost involved, and they aren’t just free glasses that come from the brewery. They will vary in cost depending on what you are looking for, such as crystal hard wearing dishwasher glass through to basic glasses.”

The trend is for shorter stemmed glasses for craft beers and cider, she says. “It just gives them a more stylish glass, lying in between a plain glass and a tankard.”

The biggest trend is in gin and gin goblets, she says, which is unsurprising given the current trend for the spirit, selling as it is now at record levels.

“Many people are now used to being served their gin in a large goblet,” she says. “When they are presented with a highball they can get a bit upset these days. A decent glass such as a goblet also allows people in bars to upsell.

“Sometimes these gin goblets will take a double, giving more in the way of presentation. It might take up more space but the idea that people sell in gin goblets and we see it in our own range: speakeasy is one of our top sellers at the moment in gin goblets.”

With gin selling at record levels she stresses it is very important that guests are serve it in the right glass.

SPACE PROBLEMS

Space is often a problem so stacking glassware is quite common in highballs and double old-fashioned. Artis provides a range of stacking glassware backed by guarantees by New England glass company Libbey, which was founded exactly 200 years ago this year. “It is strong, hard-wearing, and of course entirely dishwasher-proof, and they have a chip guarantee. That is often a space saving,” she says.

The current defining trend is that everybody wants to be different, she explains. “People simply aren’t following trends and are looking for something different in which to serve drinks. It is all about the presentation. The glass you choose to use can add value to your proposition in the eyes of your customer.”

The trend for vintage glasses that began five to six years ago is continuing, with demand for 1924 style glasses, the speakeasy and small glasses.

Meanwhile it is noticeable how many more venues serve cocktails than just a few years ago when the choice was just beer, wine or spirits. Cocktails are an effective way of making more money. With a greater level of disposable income people are feeling more free to spend on cocktails. “It’s all about what you offer in terms of quality – not to go for too many but to offer a range of quality things.”

Differentiation has been a growing trend for the last two years, she concludes.