An accidental idea that arose quite literally over drinks by the fire on a late summer night in the Hamptons led to a business for two friends. The Beach Glass, a patented ball and stem design, holds the glass upright in sand, grass and even snow.
“We were having drinks one night at my house,” which was under construction, explains Jason Klinge, a Southampton-based contractor. He and a friend, David D’Agostino, were sitting in beach chairs around a little outdoor fireplace by a pile of sand, which was there for some masonry work going on.
“I had a glass of wine and we were drinking — and you know where that ends up!” Klinge says with a laugh. “I broke the bottom off my wine glass and I just stuck it in the sand there,” he recalls. “We both kind of just looked at each other and said, ‘Hey, man, that could be — if it hasn’t been done before — this could be a cool idea.’”
“The day after Jason stuck the broken stem of his wine glass into the sand I began researching, looking for similar products and patents and discovered there were none,” D’Agostino recalls.
D’Agostino thought it was a “fun and fantastic concept” and wasted no time designing the new glassware.
D’Agostino made the original prototype from a wine glass and a wooden drumstick by sanding the stick to a point, cutting it shorter, and hot-gluing it to the wine glass’ stem. “
After sticking it into the sand I realized it made sense to have something to stop it going too far in, or to at least serve as a visual stopping point, so that the bowl of the glass did not come into contact with the sand,” he explains.
“I took a foam, ping-pong-sized ball my young son had found, drilled a hole through it (he was cool with it!), and slid it onto the drumstick. After playing with various positions, sliding the ball up and down the stem and sticking it into different densities of sand, we found the ideal stem length needed for balance. I drew up some ideas in Photoshop using 3D software and noted that the ball gave the design a visual sense of balance as well.”
Perfect for the Beach
The Beach Glass is made out of BPA-free, PMMA plastic, which is acrylic. It’s durable and dishwasher safe. But it’s also a reusable alternative to disposable, single-use plastic and styrofoam cups that are often brought to public beaches (and improperly discarded) since glass isn’t allowed.
The inventors coined it, “Outdoor drinkware evolved.”
The glass does that and more.
Another happy accident: It floats.
“After we made it and we had it on the market already, I brought it into my pool one day while I was drinking and I placed it in the water. I realized at that point that it could float!”
It has been nearly 10 years since the friends went into business under the name Beachware LLC. Early on, it was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America. “As soon as it was on that, it was, like a day or two later, sold out completely. And it was like 20,000 units,” he says.
The product was sold for a time at Bed, Bath and Beyond. “The sales were pretty strong. We started selling wholesale to retailers around the country and then around the world.”
Products can be purchased on the company’s website, thebeachglass.com.
A fulfillment company in Texas ships the orders.
The original glass comes in an array of vibrant colors that certainly add flair to any party, perfect complements for a seaside soirée. Options include Sunset Orange, White Sands, Pink Sunset, Teal Tides, Sea Green and Crystal Clear.
The product has also evolved a bit over time. To meet the demand for other beverages, they created the Caribbean Beach Glass for beer, margaritas, mojitos and even for children’s water and soft drinks. With a sleek, modern shape, it offers a rocks glass atop the same stem. The colors really pique one’s longing for a coastal vacation: Indigo Skies, Cerulean Seas, Jasmine Coast, Mint Mojito, Seashell White, Bonfire Orange and Coral Pink.
Designing stemware was not something either Klinge or D’Agostino ever imagined they would be doing. They had never invented anything before, but they did end up securing two patents.
“I don’t consider myself an inventor, but I was determined to see this through,” D’Agostino says. “Turns out that for inventors, as with all pursuits, determination is just as important as ideas and creativity, if not more so.”
Looking forward, D’Agostino says the pair are looking for ways to make their product even more sustainable.
“We have begun testing biodegradable additives that can be combined into raw acrylic during manufacturing,” he says.“Additionally, we are engineering an insulated version and who knows what happy accident we might stumble upon next.”