Glassware: making the right impression

Presentation of drinks is more important than ever, say suppliers

ATTENTION to detail is crucial in the on-trade. From the colour scheme and fabrics, to the lighting and flooring, there are various design elements which must be considered when creating a bar or restaurant. Similarly, the right glassware is integral to delivering a successful drinks range, suppliers told SLTN.

Gill Head, marketing manager at Artis, said glassware “is an important visual element of a successful establishment”.

“Your choice of glassware will speak volumes about what standard of cuisine, dining style and service the customer can expect from your establishment,” she said.

Reinforcing this stance, Henry Stephenson, managing director of Stephensons, said glassware “really can be crucial in customers’ perceptions of your establishment”.

“For example, if you’re in a Victorian pub and have your ale served in a tankard, this will work to enhance the experience because it is aesthetically appropriate,” said Stephenson.

“Equally, if you’re in a tiki bar, you’d expect a cocktail to be served in quirky, often colourful glassware to augment the theme.”

And the popularity of craft beer has also impacted consumers’ glassware expectations, according to Stephenson, who said: “With this growth and appreciation for the flavours and aromas of many different beers, there has been an equal growth in consumers expecting glassware that will enrich the drinking experience.

“Gone are the days of everything served in a nonic. If you’re serious about serving beer, then you need to be serious about glassware; this means steins for pilsners, tulips for IPAs and snifters for imperial stouts.”

An outlet’s glassware must also be in line with current trends, according to Gill of Artis.

She said: “It might not seem so, but glassware is a fashion business and it is important to keep up with modern trends.”

Glassware is a fashion business and it is important to keep up with trends.

In fact, she reckons that operators’ choice of glassware “should be regarded as a key part of your marketing plan”.

But what’s currently in vogue?

Gill reckons vintage glassware “is still very much on trend”, with another trend of the moment “the revival of the coupe”. And the ‘copa de balon’ is another style to consider – especially when it comes to gin.

“A more recent trend is towards stronger, but smaller cocktails – usually mixed spirit and stirred drinks such as the Negroni or a dirty Martini,” added Gill. “This requires a smaller glass, hence the resurgence of the ‘Nick and Nora’ glass style, made famous in the 1930s and ‘40s and named after the glasses used by fictional book and TV detective pairing, Nick and Nora Charles.”

Gill reckons this style of glassware can “put a fun twist on classic and modern drinks alike”.

However, glassware suppliers warned that the right range mustn’t put style over substance – and must be hardy enough to survive the rigours of the commercial environment.

Scott McGillivray of Sims Automatics said licensees “should be looking for durability and suitability (ideally ex lead-free toughened crystal) from their glassware”. He added that there are a number of steps licensees can take to keep glassware in tip top shape.

“Glassware can be kept in good condition in a number of ways, from using the correct trays for different types of glassware in the glasswasher and not overstacking,” he said.

Taking a similar stance, Gill of Artis said: “The cardinal rule is: if it is not meant to be stacked, don’t stack it.”