BottleHood: Tumblers Made From Used Beer Bottles

Stone Brewing Co.'s beer bottle tumblers by BottleHood
Available from the NeatoShop

Can you help save the environment, create local jobs and help stimulate the economy? Oh, and did I mention that beer is involved? Two San Diego folks did just that with an idea so simple it's genius: turn used beer, wine and liquor bottles into zany glassware and gorgeous vases.

While many of us recycle (Yay! Go us!), more than a billion bottles still end up in California landfills every year. That represents both a problem and an opportunity for artist and eco-activist Leslie Tiano and businessman Steve Cherry who teamed up to create BottleHood. They "rescue" beer, wine and liquor bottles from local restaurants, then wash, cut, grind, and polish them into tumblers, juice glasses, vases, and candle holders.

Stone IPA Beer Bottle Tumblers - $7.95 each

Tiffany and I met Leslie and Steve at the California Gift Show in Los Angeles recently and asked them a few questions:

Neatorama: These are great! How did you come up with the idea of "repurposing" beer bottles?

BottleHood (Steve): Leslie presented her first few product concepts from which we first started with vases and tumblers made from wine bottles. I didn't want to cut thin beer bottles glass if you can believe it!

Anyway, I thought of the process of repurposing glass based on lapidary techniques as opposed to heat based treatments to repurpose glass which create a huge carbon footprint in the process. My role was in the conception of the manufacturing and distribution strategy, being "neighborhood" based, very scalable and easily replicated geographically.

Neatorama: What's involved in making the tumblers and glasses? How long does it take to make each one by hand?

BottleHood: We treat the bottles as if they were a gemstone, like quartz, and cut, grind, sand, and polish the bottle turned glassware back to its original luster and finish. It takes about 20 minutes to make each tumbler.

Neatorama: What do the breweries and restaurants think of your idea?

BottleHood: Most breweries love what we do as it promotes their brand and it's a green socially conscious connection. Restaurants turn out to be both our bottle suppliers as well as our largest client segment. BottleHood is a sustainable business and to complete the "circle of sustainability" our suppliers turned clients offer the glassware back to the folks that drank the wine in the first place!

Neatorama: What's next for BottleHood?

BottleHood (Steve): We've got our eyes on lots of different neighborhoods, come see us at the SF Gift Show for more!

BottleHood (Leslie): There's a steady flow of ideas that comes from discarded bottles, so there will be new products in the very near future by BottleHood.

Arrogant Bastard Ale Beer Bottle Tumbler - $12.95 each

... and who can resist: the Double Bastard!

Double Bastard Ale Beer Bottle Tumbler - $16.95 each


I'm particularly taken by Leslie and Steve's line of glass tumblers made from beer bottles. They're SO awesome that we just have to collaborate with BottleHood to carry these beer bottle tumblers in the Neatorama Shop. Check it out - they'll make awesome Valentine's Day present for beer lovers everywhere: Link

Way to throw that eco-speak bullshit! I had a kit in the 70's that did exactly the same thing. It sold on TV right next to the Popiel Pocket Fisherman.
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We used to glass cut our own beer bottle tumblers back in the 60s. Then you heat the cut and smooth it.
Another thing we used to do was put the bottle in the coals of a nice hot camp fire.
By morning they would be flat and slightly concave. Perfect little dish or ash tray.
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Fleming Bottle and Jug Cutter! Got mine for Christmas in the early'70s, and I still have it.I cut up every bottle in the house. There may still be a set of 7 Up glasses around here somewhere.
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So true. My uncle bought a bottle cutter back in the early 1970s and made those same "bottle glasses". He got it after watching the commercial and used fine sandpaper to smooth and round over the lips. Still it is neat to see this "lost art" revisited.
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Genuine artists who are green made these tumblers, so they are special. The ones we made and still make are the clumsy, unskilled products of proles, even if they look exactly the same.
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I used to cut bottles using an alcohol-soaked string and fire. When it was burning around the bottle, I sprayed water and the bottle separated in two. Unfortunately the vases became unstable and cracky. I wish I had a bottle cutter. Rgs.
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When it takes 20 minutes to create one tumbler, I have a feeling that it's more economical and ecological to have your tumblers to be made in quantity by a real glassworks. Furthermore, landfill space is more an economic problem than environmental problem, when it's a problem at all. And glass itself is not a rare resource in danger of exhaustion.

I think they are a neat idea aesthetically, and there may indeed be a market for them. However, it isn't a new idea, as pointed out, there used to be a cheap tv gadget sold precisely for the purpose. Even as a kid I used to wonder why bother, since ready made drinking glasses were not exactly an expensive and rare commodity.
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My wife ordered me a pair of the Double Bastard (one of my favorite beers) tumblers a few weeks ago. I like to imagine when I pour a beer into one, it thinks to itself "wait a minute, didn't I just come from here?"

Then it screams in horror when it realize it's meant only to be consumed.
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Neatorama: What do the breweries and restaurants think of your idea?

BottleHood: Most breweries love what we do as it promotes their brand and it's a green socially conscious connection...I can visualize Leslie and Steve explaining their concept to the beer company CEO's in a big meeting...but one CEO is totally not paying attention as he is so busy re-attaching a button to his vest with his Pocket Buttoneer.
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The recycling idea that's really "so simple it's genious" (sic) is to take a concept marketed to basement crafters for four decades, apply eco-spin and a pretentious name, and ask 15 bucks for something the said basement crafters wouldn't put in their yard sale because they'd feel silly asking 10 cents for it.

Oh, and as to the name : I suppose it's supposed to evoke brotherhood and such, but to me BottleHood sounds like a thug armed with a broken-off bottle in his fist.
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vonskippy, that would be the RonCo Rhinestone and Stud Setter, same year, about the same price. And not to date myself, but I still have most of the K-Tel, RonCo and Popiel stuff, still in the original boxes!
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Had a Flemming cutter in the early 70's. Used to cut the top off the bottles(beer and Wine and square tequila bottles) epoxy the tops onto the bottom of the bottles and make candles out of them. Recycled the wax from the trash cans of candle makers in South San Francisco. Then took my wares down to the San Jose swap meet and sell them. We all used to recycle at that time.
It's time for all you young eco-warriors to take over the movement.
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Hi Alex,

Thanks so much for posting this. I love reading stories about reuse and posting them on our website. And this beer bottle-cum-glass one is a perfect example. I love it!!

If you have more reuse examples (or if you've written more articles on them), I would love to hear about them and post to our FB page which will provide a global platform for idea exchange on reuse - e.g. how do we reuse CDs in Finland, or bicycle tires in Lesotho?

If you like our concept, you can find us on FB at

Thanks again for your article.

Warmest wishes,
Ian Moise
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