Glassware

Options for glassware are plentiful. We currently offer thousands of different style glasses on our website with more patterns being added all the time. There are so many that deciding which type of glass is right for your needs can be overwhelming. The best piece of advice we have to give: you can never have too much. Glass breaks. That’s its nature and finding yourself too short on supply is a worse sensation than sipping red wine out of a champagne flute. Here, we put our three decades of experience in foodservice supply to use to help you hone in on which type of drinkware is best for your operation, while offering up some pretty nifty tips and tricks.


 

Our top glassware brands include:


 

Types of Glassware

Each glass type is designed for a specific use in mind. General use beverage glasses and tumblers are best for all around use, regardless of fine dining or casual dining rooms. They typically feature simple designs and great for iced tea, soft drinks and water. Many fine dining establishments opt for goblet glasses to serve water. Selecting the right glassware becomes a little more challenging when it comes to barware.

BEER GLASSES

Each type of beer glass is designed to hold a different style of beer, and they are designed as such to offer a full, comprehensive tasting experience. There are several different types to choose from, and your decision should be made based on the style of beer you serve. A few factors have gone into consideration for their design.

Presentation is perhaps the biggest factor. Especially if you brew your own beer, or serve locally crafted brews, you want it to look appealing. This includes leaving a layer of head on top of the beer to give the presentation that it’s been freshly poured. Head is the result of carbon dioxide bubbles rising to the top of the beer to create a foamy layer. The amount of head that should be left after each pour varies per style of beer and glass it’s served in. Head is about more than just presentation, though. It serves to trap in aromas and flavors that give the full experience.

 

  • Pint glasses, sometimes referred to as mixing glasses, are the most common type of beer glass you’re likely to see because of their versatility. They’re standard glasses that bartenders can used to serve beer, water, or use to mix ingredients for cocktail creations. As the name implies, they hold a pint (16 oz.) or beer and are generally used as standby glasses that work for just about any beer if needed, though it’s best for cream ales, pale ales and lagers. The head on these beers should be small to medium sized.
  • Pilsner glasses are preferred for lighter beers, like pilsners after which the glass gets its name. These glasses are also good for wheat ales like witbier, light lagers and beer with low alcohol content.
  • Belgian, tulip and goblet glasses should be reserved for more complex beers that need a wider opening for air to release all the flavors. These beers are usually darker and heavier, served with a thicker head to be consumed more slowly. Such beers might include certain stouts, IPA’s tripels, stronger ales, barley wine, etc.
  • Mugs and steins are more about the presentation. They’re a sturdier type of glass that include a handle, and can make for pretty popular souvenirs. The thicker glass acts like an insulator to keep your beer cold, and the handle serves more purpose than just something to hold on to, preventing your hand from warming the beer. Like pint glasses, the type of beer you can serve in a stein is open ended, but German, English and Irish beers are relatively common. Though mugs and steins are very similar, there is are some key differences. Mugs are typically made out of thick glass, whereas steins are made out of different materials like silver, stone and wood. Another distinction is that steins feature a hinged lid, protecting your beer from debris or bugs.
  • Footed glass beers add a more distinguished presentation, especially when served with a medium-sized head. Brown ales, lagers, porters, and saisons are best served from these stemmed glasses.

Pouring the perfect pint is all about proper technique. You need to make sure you have a solid ration of beer and foam, and not to overpour. Draft beer is brewed with high levels of carbon dioxide, which result in large bubbles and thin head. Before you pour, rinse your glass to remove any remaining residue. This helps to retain head. Next, hold your glass under the tap at a 45-degree angle and begin pouring. Stop when the glass is about half-full and tilt it upright to a 90-degree angle to finish it off. Stop right before the beer reaches the top of the glass to leave room for the head. Set the beer down to allow to settle and for the bubbles to float to the top.


WINE GLASSES

Like beer glasses, wine glasses are also designed to handle a certain type of wine. The right glass has a big impact on the wine drinking experience. Parts of the wine glass include the foot, which enables your glass to stand upright, the stem which you use to hold onto your glass so your hands don’t warm your wine, the bowl, the rim, and the color. Clear glassware is definitely the way to go for wine glasses. Some come with designs and in different colors; however, even though these glasses might be visually appealing, they distract from the wine itself and directly counter to the goal of showing off your wine.

The bowl is perhaps the most distinguishing part of the wine glass, and it serves a variety of purposes. On all wine glasses the top opening is going to narrow in. This helps to capture and aim the wine’s aroma towards your mouth and nose for the full experience. The aroma of wine is half of the tasting experience. The bowls are also designed to provide surface area for the wines to breath. Red wines tend to be heavier and need more air to allow to breath and open up the flavors, so red wine glasses tend to have bigger bowls to allow for such. White wine glasses, on the other hand, don’t require as much air and therefore have smaller bowls. Champagne needs a small amount of surface area to retain carbonation, which is why it’s served in narrow flutes.

Good wine glasses have a thin, smooth rim as to not distract from the wine itself. The rim should not inhibit or restrict the wine as it flows out. Cheaper wine glasses may have wider rims that could dampen the experience. 

Wine glasses are typically made out of glass or crystal. All crystal is glass, but not all glass is crystal. What used to distinguish the two was lead content, because lead was used to soften the glass in crystal, giving them added weight and the ability to diffract light. Today, little crystal glassware is still made with lead. Due to lead leaking out of the crystal, manufacturers have changed the way in which they produce such glasses, opting instead to use a composition of barium carbonate, zinc and titanium oxides to offer the same properties of crystal. Crystal glasses are thought to highlight the aromas and taste and provide a premium wine tasting experience, but they also cost quite a bit more than traditional wine glassware.

 


 

Recommended Use

The amount of glassware you need depends on a variety of factors from what kind of establishment you run, the kind of drinks you serve, how many seats are available, etc. Remember, you must anticipate glasses breaking, so plan ahead. You can never have too much of a backup supply.

We recommend, as a place to start, having at least two or three glasses for every seat in your establishment. If you have a certain item that is more popular, used more often, or used in a variety of manners – like a pint glass for example – then perhaps five per seat would be more optimal. One reason for this, which we explore in more detail below, is when washing dishes, it is imperative to give your glassware a longer cool down time, which puts them out of commission for longer than may initially be anticipated.

Glassware is usually sold by the dozen. To get started, here’s our recommended guide based on 100 seats, including glasses for use and backup:

Suggested minimum glassware requirements for a 100 seat dining room.
GLASS STEMWARE
Dining (by the bottle service)
Flute, 5 - 7 oz. 12 dozen
White Wine Glass, 8 - 12 oz. 12 dozen
Red Wine Glass, 20 - 23 oz.  12 dozen
All Purpose Wine Glass, 10 - 15 oz. 24 dozen
Banquet Hall
Flute, 5 - 7 oz. 12 dozen
 All Purpose Wine Glass, 10 - 15 oz. 24 dozen
Bar (by the glass service)
Flute, 5 - 7 oz. 6 dozen
All Purpose Wine Glass, 10 - 15 oz. 12 dozen
GLASS BARWARE
Bar or Pub
Beer Glass, 14 - 16 oz. 10 dozen
Highball Glass, 8 - 10 oz. 10 dozen
Rocks Glass, 8 - 12 oz. 10 dozen
Cordial/Shot Glass 6 dozen
Double Old Fashioned Glass, 12 - 14 oz. 10 dozen
Martini Glass, 6 - 9 oz. 8 dozen
Brandy Glass 2 dozen
FOODSERVICE GLASSWARE
Bistro
Bistro Glass 24 dozen
Water Glass 36 dozen
Iced Tea Glass 24 dozen
Dining Room
Juice Glass 12 dozen
Water Glass 12 dozen
Iced Tea Glass 24 dozen
Fountain Glass 12 dozen
Banquet Hall
Juice Glass 12 dozen
Water Glass 12 dozen
Iced Tea Glass 18 dozen
Fountain Glass 12 dozen

Drink and Be Merry


Durability

Not all glassware is created equally. Some common terms you’re likely to come across in your search that relate to the durability of the glass are Standard (or Annealed Glass), Fully-Tempered, and Rim-Tempered.

Annealed glass is cooled slowly to remove internal stress, which makes it durable when exposed to temperature change, like in the dishwasher. However, when it breaks, it shatters into several pieces, which can result in injury and a bear to cleanup. This is usually the most economical (up front), value option of glassware. 

Fully-Tempered glass has been more processed than annealed glass, increasing its strength and making it less prone to breakage. When it does break, it breaks in chunks instead of shattering into hundreds of shards.

Rim-Tempered glass means that a certain area (usually near the rim) is made of tempered glass, but not the whole glass itself. A lot of glasses break by tipping over, where the rim takes the full impact, so rim-tempered offers more protection against that. If you’re on a budget, this is a nice halfway point between annealed and fully-tempered.

Some manufacturers incorporate different, trademarked formulas and guarantees to their glass construction that add extra layers of durability. Some common ones you may come across include:

  • Libbey SafeEdge
  • Libbey Sheer Rim
  • Libbey DurraTuff
  • Anchor SureGuard

Care and Maintenance

Just in case it bears repeating, you can never have enough glassware. We cannot emphasize this enough. Having “just enough” might seem okay at the time, but this could hurt you in the long run. Think of it like shoes. If you only own two pairs you wear all the time, they’ll deteriorate quicker.

There are a couple primary reasons glassware breaks (aside from accidental drops). The first is called mechanical shock. Every clank adds up. Mechanical shock is the direct result of the glass coming in contact with another object, like flatware, a beer tap, other glasses, etc. This causes miniscule abrasions that may be invisible to the eye, but nonetheless weaken the glass. Over time the glass becomes susceptible to breakage from impact or thermal shock.

Thermal shock is another common reason why glasses break. This occurs when a glass experiences a sudden change of temperature, like when it is immediately put back into use after coming out of the dishwasher. To reduce the risk of thermal shock, do not put glasses that have held ice immediately in the dishwasher. Let them settle to room temperature first. This is true in reverse too. When removing a load from the dishwasher, let them cool down to normal temperature before reinstating into service. Always avoid putting cold water into a hot glass.

Here are some additional dos and don’ts to help enhance the life expectancy of your glassware:

  • Avoid putting silverware in glasses, banging the feet of stemware together on overhead racks, “boqueting” or lacing too many pieces of stemware between fingers, clanking the bowls of wine or martini glasses together, and smacking the lip of a beer glass against the tap. This can all result in mechanical shock. The less clanking, the longer the lifespan.
  • Allow your glasses plenty of time to cool after removing from the dishwasher. Don’t immediately place a glass in the wash after having served a cold beverage.
  • It’s good practice to pre-heat a glass with hot water prior to pouring a hot drink.
  • Do not stack non-stackable glasses. When stacking stackable glasses, it is better to lay them all on their sides instead of stacking on top because there is less force.
  • Always use a plastic scoop for ice and never the glass itself.
  • Always handle glasses gently, and immediately remove abraded, cracked, or chipped glassware from service.
  • Not all glass racks are the same. The right one depends on the type of glassware you’re using. Stemmed glass racks are different than tumbler racks.