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Why not mead in Flint Glass Bottles?

It’s interesting to see a local move toward selling mead in flint glass bottles. Interesting because we’ve also been interested in flint glass bottles over the last two years. But it’s not where we’re headed anymore and the explanation comes as three important reasons.

The first reason is flint glass is expensive per unit, especially as the decision to buy them would be purely driven by marketing. This drives profit per unit down and cost per unit up at a significant percentage that’s difficult to justify. The underlying marketing rationale is that pretty equates to expensive equates to a perception of premium quality. But because flint glass is expensive then overall profits drop or prices have to be higher (unless quantity sold is significantly increased). Flint glass for mead is almost faux-prestige and there are no free lunches in business.

The cost of flint glass in whiskey is more understandable. Whiskey is a prestige product with premium pricing and a wider market experience.

The second reason we’re no longer interested in flint glass is the cost per unit of shipping. A simple 500ml basquaise is just over 1KG when filled with mead. This may be neither here nor there to some sellers but the extra cost to bottle in flint glass potentially adds to shipping costs. Or, at least, this would hold true were we to ever ship further than the local market – say, mainland Australia, China, the United States or India. It’s a think big question about long term goals.

But our third reason is the true killer of flint glass in marketing mead products. Or any clear glass. And most, if not all, Tasmanian mead is marketed in clear glass bottles. That marketing theory is for mead to look pretty and inspire shallow knowledge purchases.

Unfortunately mead, like beer, spoils in sunlight. Mead has the best attributes of the vampire – it can last 1000+ years in the bottle if stored in a dark cool environment. But sit mead in clear glass on your windowsill or on a sunny loungeroom coffee table and it can acquire off flavours and changed colour. Mead and light are not best friends.

So marketing mead in clear glass is underpinned by the idea that it’s great for the seller. Pretty equates to selling. But it’s not always that great for the purchaser. When the product is taken home and left on a cabinet simply because it’s pretty there is no guarantee that light won’t negatively affect flavour and colour.

That’s the rationale behind our decision. If we can get off the ground, and it’s a long way from ever happening (and then some), we’re not going to be bottling into flint glass.

Add expense per unit to shipping costs and a potential of less quality at the time of consumption. Dark bottles and cans are our future. We won’t always be on the same road as everybody else and that’s fine. It’s always a good day for mead.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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