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Tuesday, 02 February 2021 17:27

Day Job/Night Job: He Turns Empty Liquor Bottles into Glassware

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Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for CREF, founded B-Cycled Bottles to “upcycle” liquor bottles into shot, rocks and tumbler glasses. Here he is at the 2020 Chicago Beer Festival with the Beer Yeti mascot. Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for CREF, founded B-Cycled Bottles to “upcycle” liquor bottles into shot, rocks and tumbler glasses. Here he is at the 2020 Chicago Beer Festival with the Beer Yeti mascot.

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...greater Chicagoland arts and crafts festivals and beer festivals. People seem to love his products.

 

It’s a part-time gig that could eventually turn into full-time money. The business is growing 30% to 40% every year, even including 2020, when people “seemed to be drinking more during the pandemic,” Eckenrode said.

 

But it also has a higher cause, and being green is a big part of it, he said.

 

“Together we are helping to give these bottles a whole new purpose,” he said. “They make great 'green' gifts for clients, customers, family and friends, and people feel good about buying them and using them.”

 

Eckenrode 2 web

 

A celebrity client can definitely give any small business a boost, so Eckrenrode was delighted when he heard from San Francisco Giants outfielder Mike Yaztremski about his glassware.

 

“Mike’s teammate, Pablo Sandoval, can’t pronounce Yaztremski’s last name, so he just calls him 'Mike Whiskey,'" he said. “When I found out about it, I reached out to Yaz and told him on Facebook if he ever needed some glasses made out of whiskey bottles, we could do that at B-Cycled. He responded, I sent him some glasses and he presented a few of them to Sandoval in the clubhouse, which was great.”

Eckenrode’s list of contacts has grown exponentially, including a network of golf course beverage carts attendants who save the mini/travel size glass liquor bottles which he upcycles into shot glasses.

 

Over the years, he has refined his processes and production techniques. One day, Eckenrode had a contractor at his house doing some work, when the man noticed piles of empty bottles in the garage.

 

“He figured I like alcohol at the very least,” he said. “I explained what I was doing and he told me that he could cut the bottles for me. He uses a wet saw that makes a clean cut and then...


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