The Stölzle Glass Group has earned an enviable reputation for its intricate and tactile glassware. Beverage Packaging Innovation talks to Gary Steen, the company’s sales director for prestige spirits, about the intricate production processes and minute attention to detail behind every Stölzle bottle.
What kind of products do you cater for with the Stölzle spirits glassware range? Gary Steen: Stölzle Glass Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-end bottles for premium spirits and liquors. It has great expertise in custom design and standard glass containers. The items range from miniatures to tallware bottles, with a capacity of up to 4.5L. Stölzle offers extra flint glass as well as an unlimited variety of feeder colours. Our core competencies are extraordinary bottles and trend-setting shapes, a high level of innovation, the perfect technical execution and our fine glass quality.
To what extent does the customer determine the design behind a new commission for spirits glassware? Stölzle has an innovation team consisting of designers and glass experts who work closely with the customer throughout the process of product development. Our tailor-made designs are often requested for the purpose of standing out from the crowd of competitor products on the shelf. Every item bears a unique message, which is reflected in the product’s design. Concepts are assessed in relation to the design intent, and then technical solutions are found for even the most idealistic and demanding of designs, conforming to the customers’ specifications.
What decoration techniques do you rely on to produce the tactile and visual effects that we see on your glassware? For some time now, Stölzle has been investing in new decoration techniques and facilities in France, Poland and the UK. In addition to the familiar processes – such as frosting, screen printing, pad printing, lacquering, hot stamping, transfers, sleeving and gluing – we also offer a range of innovative decoration techniques, including metallisation, laser cutting and spraying with special inks that result in tactile or visual effects. We are also proud to offer a range of visual and tactile effects achieved by the application of a special lacquering material. The surface of a bottle can look and, in some parts, feel like concrete, ice, carbon, velvet, metal or can, as well as provide a soft touch or a glittering effect. Spraying can be executed perfectly, leaving certain parts of the product undecorated in order to apply additional decoration techniques at a further stage. Alternatively, it’s very trendy to remove selected areas of the coating – especially when it comes to metallic spray – in order to achieve fancy ‘windows’ or patterns on the bottles.
What is the most rewarding project you’ve brought to fruition for a client? Isle of Harris Gin is a stunning bottle that won the Worldstar Award in 2017. It is a tailor-made spirits bottle with a bespoke finerippled design over the whole bottle, which reflects the elemental nature of the Scottish island, particularly the maritime influences of the sea. A base surface turquoise spray is added to reflect the characteristic colour of the sea, and a slight indentation eases the serving of the gin.
How important is sustainability to Stölzle Glass Group’s operations? Over the past few years, the Stölzle Glass Group has been growing steadily and has invested heavily in the field of environmental protection. Today, we can be proud not only of meeting our legal obligations, but also of making a significant contribution to the environment as a result of our ongoing improvements and innovations. Our medium-term targets for 2020 and beyond continue to pursue this strategy. From the inert raw material of glass, we develop, manufacture and market high-quality packaging. Thanks to its unlimited recyclability, only glass can claim the capacity to go back into the production process repeatedly, to be reused endlessly without compromising on quality, flavour-neutrality or functional safety. This unique selling point will be a key aspect in our group‘s sustainability strategy in the future.
Source: Beverage Packaging Innovation, Summer 2018