The Ultimate Guide To Choosing Commercial Glassware

02 May 2022

Every restaurant, café or bar has their essentials list. These are the items your customers expect to see, use and consume when they visit. If you’re a licenced venue, alcoholic drinks will be somewhere near the top of that list.

While a lot of time is spent debating the selection of drinks, not as much time is dedicated to choosing the accompanying glassware. This is a pity, as the shape, thickness and quality of glasses can play a big part in the taste of a drink and overall customer experience.

So, if you’re new to the restaurant game or planning to update your venue, keep reading our ultimate guide to choosing commercial glassware.

Why is it important to have the right glassware?

In this case, we’re going to focus on the three most common alcoholic drink varieties – beer, wine and spirits. It’s fair to assume that venue owners are well versed on the regulations and standards when serving alcohol but how many consider the glass, and how it changes the taste and appearance of a drink?

Beer Glasses

Beer glasses come in all shapes and sizes. While the nonic pint glass is still regarded as standard in bars and restaurants, venues should be serving customers a glass that suits the beer. For example, a pilsner glass is taller and thinner than a pint glass with a tapered shape allowing the bubbles to rise to the top of the glass. While it will marginally affect the taste, it’s the appearance of a sparkling, bright coloured beer that’ll win a customer over.

If you offer a variety of boutique beers, you’ll want to explore the full range of glassware available. The discerning beer drinker will appreciate the effort of being served a nice fruity ale in a Belgian beer glass. The glass is tapered at the top to lock in the aromas while the short stem means you can hold the glass without the beer becoming warm.

Wine Glasses 

Whether you have a clientele that swirls, sniffs or gulps, the size and style of wine glass matters.

Red wine glasses should have a wide bowl to give the wine greater exposure to oxygen – in other words, let the wine breathe. This will help to calm stronger flavours without losing any of the bold taste. The more delicate reds like Pinot Noir will perform best in a shorter glass while full-bodied reds should be served in a taller glass.

Like red wine, white wine glasses should match the type of wine you’re serving. If it’s a lighter-bodied white wine like a Riesling, Sav Blanc or Semillon, you should choose a glass with a smaller bowl but long straight sides. This helps to keep the wine cool and will concentrate the floral flavours. The medium to full-bodied whites are better served in a glass with a larger bowl.

Sparkling wine is most commonly served in flutes, however, some experts believe that it is best served in a wine glass as the larger rim allows the scent of the sparkling wine to be released more easily.

Spirit & Cocktail Glasses

While you may be able to get away with serving a beer or wine in the wrong glass, spirit and cocktail drinkers will not let this misdemeanour go unnoticed. Serving a cocktail or spirit in the correct glass is important for two reasons:

  • It enhances the aroma of the drink
  • It keeps the drink at the correct temperature

Most spirits will be served in either highball or lowball glasses. The highball is preferred for spirits that require more mixer. Like a sparkling wine flute, the smaller rim will hold the bubbles of the mixer for longer.

The lowball or tumbler is for people who like their drinks a little stronger. Whether that’s on the rocks or with a mix, the glass needs to be wide to accommodate large ice cubes and release the aroma of the spirit.

As for the martini glass, it’s designed that way with good reason. The cone shape helps to push the ingredients together and give off plenty of aroma while the long stem allows you to control the temperature.

Commercial Glassware to fit your venue

While it’s important to select commercial glassware to fit the drink, you should also look at glassware that fits your venue. Think about the type of clientele you’re trying to attract. If you want to be known as an up-market wine bar, then you’ll want to make sure you have a large variety of quality wine glasses on offer. Remember, Google and YouTube are full of information about matching the perfect glass with the perfect wine – people will notice when a bar or restaurant doesn’t follow protocol.