Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with David Kong, the founder of Glasvin. His company offers beautiful handmade glass and has made a significant impact in the restaurant industry since its beginnings in 2020. Here, he’ll share what prompted this business endeavor and the benefits it brings to restaurants across the country.
EMERGING: What led you to start a glassware company?
David: I really like nice glassware, and when I looked at the options in the market, I found that handblown glass was extremely expensive. I decided at that point to enter the market and fix that, creating a high-quality product with best-in-class pricing. Today, we make tens of thousands of glasses each year.
EMERGING: Can you share a bit about the quality of these glasses?
David: Our goal is to have the highest quality products on the market. Our glasses are very light and very thin, which is the primary value they bring to the user. When you hold one, you’ll notice these attributes immediately. A thin, light glass offers an air of sophistication and elegance, and though it appears beautiful and fragile, our glasses hold up very well in dishwashers and with everyday use. These are much harder to make when compared to those that are heavy and thick, and surprisingly sturdy despite their appearance and feel.
Our Universal Glass is our bestseller. It’s also referred to as an AP or All-Purpose glass. There’s been a longstanding trend in the market where people use different glasses for every type of wine. There’s a counter-trend, however, where one glass is good for everything. It’s in the middle in terms of size, creating the perfect glass for people to drink whatever type of wine they want in it.
EMERGING: What do you look for in glassware?
The fundamental characteristics of handblown glass are that they’re lighter and thinner. This offers a smooth flow of wine, making the wine taste better, and allows a clear view of the colors. Most restaurants mark up their wines considerably, making it important for them to offer value and give customers an experience they wouldn’t otherwise get at home. So, these glasses provide that experience. We’ve seen this big switch in the industry, going lighter and thinner.
Personal preference is how a glass is shaped. I prefer a simple look and nothing too outrageous, which is how we’ve designed our glasses.
EMERGING: I noticed you have some Michelin-starred restaurants as customers.
David: We work with over 100 restaurants across the country that buy our product. Of those, about 15% are Michelin-starred restaurants. In New York, we’re in a third of the new Michelin-starred restaurants that opened last year. Our market share in the high-end market is very high.
Everything we do is handblown, and we have two lines—a higher end and a lower end. We’re also starting to make cocktail glasses and have a prolific wholesale program that we offer restaurants.
We’re also starting to work with major restaurant chains and national accounts. Additionally, we offer custom design and can create a glass for every occasion and for anything a client might need.
It’s safe to say we’ll be hearing a lot more about Glasvin. Some of the many restaurants that choose Glasvin include Gabriel Kreuther, Jungsik, Flagstaff House, and Kato. They are also the official glass of La Paulée, the world’s premier Burgundy wine event. Maggie Hoffman, Senior Editor of Epicurious, described the glasses as “luxurious, delicate, elegant, and weightless.”