When you finish drinking a bottle of gluten-free Glass Vodka, you’ll likely think twice before tossing it into the recycling bin.
That’s because the company’s founder, Ian MacNeil, designed it to be repurposed and reused—and really, it’s just too nice to throw away. MacNeil, who has been deeply rooted in Seattle’s glass-blowing community for years says, “Seattle is the glass epicentre of the world. This bottle pays homage to my friends in the biz.”
Glass Vodka’s tall, reverse-concave bottle, which comes with a beautiful solid glass stopper, is a true representation of its contents. “Glass is a liquid artform,” MacNeil explains. “[Like vodka], it starts as a solid and turns into a liquid. The bottle is pure, clean and elegant.”
Glass’ bottles and stoppers are actually crystal (a type of glass), giving users even more reason to keep them and reuse them long after the vodka is gone.
When designing the bottle, MacNeil started with the weight, which he decided would be 985 grams—heavy enough to feel full even when it was empty. This way, he reasoned, consumers might come to see it as a valued object, and be more likely to reuse it as a water bottle, a wine bottle, or even a vessel for holding candy and other foodstuffs.
Because Glass Vodka is made from grapes, instead of fermented grains or potatoes, MacNeil wanted the packaging to remind consumers of a beautiful bottle of Bordeaux or Champagne. “It’s big, it’s thick, it takes up your whole hand. There’s a big base on the bottom, so there’s a big thick piece of glass, and it reflects light up and focuses it up into the bottle,” MacNeil says. “The top of the bottle gets really narrow. And then there’s a little lip on the top to support this solid glass stopper,” he continues.
Numerous manufacturers tried to convince MacNeil to make the glass stopper hollow which would keep costs down, but the entrepreneur stuck to his guns. He wanted it to remind consumers of their grandmother’s decanter. “It’s so beautiful, it’s looks like a lens or a prism,” he explains. Beautiful, indeed: an image of the stopper was named one of the Top 20 Photographs of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The bottle’s heavy, solid glass bottom and reverse concave shape make it an ideal wine decanter. And the spout, designed with wave dynamics in mind, results in a no-spill pour. “My AudoCAD designer said ‘if we put a lip on the inside of the bottle and you make it concave, that will prevent spills,’” MacNeil says.
One of the design challenges MacNeil had was creating a cover to encase the top of the bottle. At first he used a piece of shrink sleeve that went over the stopper. “It just looked so cheesy. It would be like wrapping a pair of Gucci’s in plastic. Just not gonna cut it,” says MacNeil.
After experimenting with a number of different solutions including Champagne wire, he created a clamp that looks like a chrome bracelet. The clamp has a tab that is supposed to be broken when the bottle is first purchased, and then the clamp is meant to be recycled. But it “looks so nice, people think they need to keep it,” says MacNeil.
The clamp has since been redesigned with inspiration from a Cartier bracelet, and customers are holding on to it long after their last martini has been made. Some have collected a series to use as napkin rings. One customer even gave it to their child to wear as a bracelet.
With so much thought and care put into the design, it’s no surprise that Glass Vodka bottles have received a lot of buzz in the design community. The bottle was featured in an article in Spirited magazine, and MacNeil entered the design into a liquor package design competition where Glass Vodka won a silver medal.
Are you interested in seeing Glass Vodka bottles in-person? Would you like to shop for gluten-free liquor? Whether you are interested in learning about vodka ingredients (especially gluten-free vodka brands), you’re wondering what vodka is made from, or you’re interested in knowing which vodkas are gluten-free, our vodka experts are here to help. Visit our website or stop by our store in Seattle. We have some of the best sipping vodka in North America.