In my last article about Upside-Down Beverage Containers I wrote about the slow-moving development of the Flip-Bottle, invented by Vincent M. Allora, founder of Silent Dynamite LLC. I think the “upside-down bottle” whether in glass, plastic or aluminium, is a welcome addition to the range of beverage containers for on-the-go and outdoor activities, as it offers a decent glass to drink from. Unfortunately the development of the Flip-Bottle isn’t that far yet. The inventor still is in the prototype stage.
However there is an “upside-down” bottle in the market. Innovation Design Service, a design agency in Washington-state claims that its Bottlass upside-down bottle is commercialised in the South Korean market. Let’s have a look at this bottle.
Various blogs have been writing about the Bottlass, positive or negative, but often with no knowledge of reality. For example I don’t agree with the negative arguments of Rain Noe in his article in Core77: “Bottlass’ Beverage Packaging Concept Looks Cool, Probably Wouldn’t Work”, although some are childish, I must say that some are valid. About that later, as I will quote various points from his article. Furthermore there is the refuting of Noe’s negativism by Kyung Kook, the Vice-President of Bellevue-based Innovative Design Service Inc., the company that came up with the design.
Let’s first look at the basics of the Bottlass.
A beverage container is provided to be used as a cup by being turned over and coupled to a container (bottom) cap.
A main body has an open top having an inner diameter which becomes smaller to the bottom of the main body, and a closed bottom. A first connection unit is provided at a position selected from an inner periphery or the outer periphery of the bottom of the main body. The inner diameter having a larger diameter has a cap fastened thereto. At the central portion of the cap, a second connection unit is provided, which is connected to the first connection unit. A sealing material is adhered to the front end of the main body, in which the cap is fastened to. The first and second connection units are coupled to each other by screw tab joining or forced insertion. The shape of the main body is a polygonal shape.
The patented design, invented by Innovative Design Service Inc, can be implemented for a new product line by any brand, can be displayed securely on store shelves thanks to its wide base and narrow top. This product can be made from glass, plastic or aluminium and can be used to transport a variety of liquids, including beer, wine and soft drinks.
The idea is that a glass, plastic or aluminium container shaped like an inverted (wine) glass, minus the base, is sealed and shipped with an aluminium base nested into the bottom. After purchase, the consumer removes the base, flips the container, inserts the glass stem into the base, via “screw tab joining” or “forced insertion”, and opens the top via a pull-tab.
Here Rain Noe in his article dives into the possible shipping problems. He states:
“Since the Bottlass’ point-top, glass design is too fragile to be pallet-stacked like say, plastic bottles… it would of course have to be shipped like wine bottles, with a cardboard grid insert. Which begs the question: If there’s virtually no height difference between the assembled and disassembled versions and it will require a cardboard support grid, why not just ship the thing assembled in the first place? For that matter, why not just ship it as one contiguous piece of glass?
The answer is simple. If Noe had been looking at shipping cases with empty wine glasses with a stem, or any glass with a stem for that matter, he should have discovered that glasses with stems always, always are shipped upside-down. Or in other words with the wide mouth standing on the bottom of the shipping case to give the package strength and makes stacking possible, although still breakage is very common, inserted grid or no grid.
The foot on the stem is the most fragile part and the inventor took a logical decision to move that foot to the bottom. The stem in itself will not break easily by vertical (or even side-pressure) pressure and without the foot itself the product gets a sturdy feature for stacking shipping cases.
I don’t know whether it was the intention of the design, but whatever it was, it’s a very logical improvement of shipping stem glasses.
According to Kyung Kook of Innovative Design Service, “Bottlass was created as a two-piece design so it can accommodate its look of a bottle and a glass. It was not created to break down in size like those cheap screw-stem plastic wineglasses. The objective of this design is to make this product as aesthetically pleasing as possible. Anyone who wishes to enjoy a glass of wine or beer can do so, while maintaining that feel of drinking from a real wineglass without having to be stuck only where they are available”.
And what about filling? Rain Noe argues that on filling lines, containers either have flat bottoms that ride on a belt…
“The flat-bottom option is out here. And as you can see with the tabs in the photo of the green bottles, the tabs are typically flat, simply-shaped pieces of metal, because when you need 100,000 tabs you want to keep the cost of each down. While it would be possible to create some kind of compound-curved tabs or nesting stands that could hold each Bottlass securely in place on the line during filling, I can’t see a company swallowing the extra cost when there’s no appreciable benefit”.
This is refuted by Kyung Kook saying that “As for filling the containers, the manufacturers may need to build some type of holders without having to change the entire product factory line. The cost, I believe, will be minimal in comparison to the overall manufacturing expense. There are different ways of packaging differently shaped bottles, but we are confident that the industry itself can come up with an ideal way to make it more feasible and economical”.
It is claimed that the Bottlass is in the South Korean market since April last year. Rain Noe argues that this is clearly a concept that isn’t in production. I haven’t visited South Korea recently, so I don’t know, but whatever the case, in my opinion this design and other similar ones are very welcome in a beverage market targeting its expanding on-the-go and outdoor loving consumers. It perfectly fits in the expectations of the 2015 consumer in regard to simplifying his life by multi-functional packaging.
I personally like the aluminium design better than the glass and plastic version and foresee a good future alongside the well-known aluminium beverage bottle.