What do you do after you finish a bottle of your favorite adult beverage? After recovering from your hangover, I would guess you probably throw it into the recycle bin and forget about it.
Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for the Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), founded B-Cycled Bottles in 2016 to “upcycle” those empty liquor bottles into shot, rocks and tumbler glasses and give them a second life, after he took some high-end vodka bottles and transformed them into a cool gift.
“I wanted to create a unique party favor for my wife’s birthday,” he said. “She’s a big Grey Goose fan, so I asked the general manager at a local restaurant that we frequent if he could save the empty bottles for me, and he was more than happy to oblige.”
After the party, he still had a handful left over, so he put them on eBay and they sold faster than anticipated.
“I thought, wow---maybe I have something here,” Eckenrode said. “I started calling around and set up a network of local restaurants, bars and hotels. I asked them if they could save specific bottles for me, primarily whiskies, vodkas and tequilas, as well as select craft beers.
"Wine bottles don’t work as well, because the labels are too high up on the glass, so they don’t make for good glasses.”
He has developed a large network consisting of bar owners, bartenders, servers, hotels and restaurants, from New York City to Los Angeles, to save their empty liquor and beer bottles.
In one particular case, a high-end tequila company contacted Eckenrode and gave him some good news.
“The owner of Suerte Tequila called me and said that he had more than 300 used bottles sitting there and asked if I could use them," Eckenrode said. "He wanted to make sure that they were reused as opposed to dumped in the landfill.”
To date, Eckenrode has sold thousands of glasses in 13 countries, directly through his website, bcycledbottles.com, and Instagram, @bcycledbottles. He consistently gets rave reviews and hopes to one day be able to buy a vacation home with the money.
He does all of the marketing, and often displays and sells his glassware on weekends at...