Product Knowledge Guide: Glassware

Glassware can help tailor a tabletop presentation to be a unique, personal experience for customers. Unlike dinnerware, where food takes precedence, with this category, it’s as much about the glass as it is about the beverage being contained.

iStock 000050377448 DoubleNew glassware designated for use in commercial foodservice operations aligns with beverage trends and can enhance the flavor, aroma and presentation of the drinks. With the popularity of craft beers and craft spirits, the design of new beverage-specific glassware allows these items to maximize the flavor and aroma of liquor.

A couple of other notable trends in commercial glassware include modern looks for classic rocks and highball glasses. Rocks glasses now feature a shorter design with a wider opening, while new designs of highball glasses are taller with a narrower opening.

The main types of glassware include:

  • Tumblers — juice, highball, rocks, beverage, shots
    and shooters
  • Stemware — wine, goblet, martini, margarita, coupe, flute
  • Beer glasses — pilsners, pub glasses, tulip stems, Belgian, steins and mugs
  • Other — coffee mugs, plates and bowls, carafes, decanters, pitchers, votives, storage

Each type of glass often comes in a range of capacities. For example, a standard stacking/mixing glass may be offered in sizes ranging from 14 to 22 ounces.

Glassware sizes also vary greatly depending on the style of the line. Standard beverage glasses come with 10- and 12-ounce capacities. Stemware can range from 10 to 22 ounces. Beer glasses for light lagers and domestic beer are often served in 12- to 23-ounce pilsner glasses while craft beers with a higher alcohol content are served in smaller glasses.

The type of beverage determines the appropriate glass. It’s important to pair the right glass with the right drink since the size and shape influence how beer, wine and spirits are perceived by the senses, enhancing the aromas and flavors. Additionally, the right glass can elevate presentation and perceived value, enabling operators to charge a premium for the beverage.

For operators looking for a durable product that highlights a vintage, crystalline glass is considered a modern age lead crystal. This material is composed of a mixture of silica sand, soda, potassium and lime and is melted at high temperatures. The metallic oxides add to the glassware’s clarity.

With the popularity of craft beer and brown spirits and experimentation with ingredients for cocktails, new types of glassware feature design elements to enhance these beverages’ flavor and aroma. For example, a glass created for hard cider has a round bowl to release the fresh apple aroma and bottom ridges to increase effervescence. As craft beer has become more prevalent over the last couple of years, operators can now choose from different glassware types when serving IPAs, ales and lagers.

There also has been a resurgence of craft cocktails and traditional drinks with a twist. A number of craft distillers now produce small-batch whiskeys, bourbons and scotches. Glassware specific for different types of cocktails, such as Manhattans, martinis and Old Fashioneds, are available to set each beverage apart. In response to this trend, classic glassware with updates has made a resurgence. Another trend is the use of coupe champagne glasses with short rounded stems and lines that are simple with textured finishes.

Catering to Millennials who are going out more often and sharing plates to dine more affordably, glassware for batch serving has been developed, which some predict is the next frontier in the category. Rather than order cocktails by the glass, more operators are seeking unique ways to make small batches of cocktails that can be shared tableside.

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