The Restaurant Drinkware Buyers' Guide
We have written guides about proper table settings and restaurant dinnerware. Now it’s time for a guide about restaurant drinkware. Often taken for granted, the right drinkware can set your establishment apart from the rest! Choose drinkware with a little flair for your bar for added appeal or classy Crystallin for your sit down restaurant. This guide will help you to determine which types of drinkware are best for your food service business and which types are not the perfect fit.
The drinkware or glassware your restaurant puts on the table can be made of several different materials. The following are the most common materials used in drinkware production:
SAN – Also known as styrene acrylonitrile resin. This is a durable plastic that can withstand boiling so it is dishwasher safe. It can be clear or come in a variety of colors. SAN is also BPA free.
Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate is a plastic that is durable but may scratch easy. Polycarbonate can be very clear and can also come in a variety of colors, much like SAN. Polycarbonate can resist higher temperatures but because of the use of BPA in it’s manufacturing process is not the best choice for hot beverages.
Glass – Glass is heavier in weight than plastic and may feel better in your customer’s hand. Glass is a classic option for drinkware but can be easily broken when dropped or subjected to temperature shock.
Tempered Glass – Tempered glass, also known as safety glass, is strengthened through thermal or chemical treatment. Tempered glass will not break as easily as untempered glass, making it a great choice for bar glasses that are commonly subjected to “frosting. When tempered glass does break, it breaks into safer, smaller pieces rather than large shards.
Crystal – Classic crystal, also known as Lead Glass, is glass that is traditionally made with potash (salts) and lead. Known for looking much better than traditional glass, Crystal has been used for glassware as early as 1612. Although deemed safe for use, thorough washing before use is recommended to reduce the chances of lead leaching. Because of this, storing beverages for longer periods of time is not advised.
Crystallin – Also known as “Cystal Glass, Crystallin is the lead free variety of Crystal. Barium, potassium, and zinc are used instead of lead, making it a safer choice for those concerned with traditional Crystal’s lead content. Like Crystal, Crystallin’s appearance is favored over glass.
Porcelain – Porcelain is a type of ceramic material that is very hard and usually comes in white. Also called “China. Porcelain can be more durable than traditional glass but is known to chip.
Types/Styles of Drinkware & Their Common Uses
The Tumbler is one of the most commonly used types of drinkware. Tumblers feature flat bottoms and can be made in all of the common drinkware materials. Tumblers are used in nearly all food service establishments.
The Mug or Teacup is commonly used for hot beverages like coffee, hot chocolate, and tea. Mugs are typically made with heat-safe materials like SAN, porcelain, or tempered glass.
Stemware is commonly made with glass, crystal, or crystalline but has more recently been crafted in break resistant SAN. There are many different types of stemware, ranging from white wine glasses to champagne flutes and specialty margarita glasses.
The Pitcher or Decanter is commonly used to dispense beverages and not as a drinking vessel. Pitchers/decanters are most commonly used in bars and sit down restaurants. Pitchers and Decanters are most commonly made of SAN, Glass, or Polycarbonate.
Rocks Glasses (also known as Old Fashioned glasses) are usually found in bars for use with alcoholic beverages. Rocks glasses typically come in glass but have more recently been made in break resistant SAN.
Pilsners and beer mugs are also more commonly found in bars or sit down restaurants with a beer service. Because pilsners and tankards are typically frosted for maintaining a colder beverage, tempered glass is usually the material of choice.
Shot glasses are used in bar settings but have been used in dessert applications for their perfect “budget shooter size. Shot glasses are typically made with glass or even SAN plastic.