On the Brink of Drink
Look on your desk right now. Chances are you have a coffee mug, a reusable water bottle or maybe a disposable bottle of juice. You have beer steins, tea cups and collectable shot glasses at home. You keep a tumbler handy in your car. What do all of these beverage carriers have in common? Whether you received them free for moving into a new building or purchased them in a gift shop, they all have a logo emblazoned right where you can see it (and continue to see it every day).
Any industry or company can benefit from imprinted drinkware—and you can benefit from the revenue. So here is the best advice from the industryʼs experts on top markets, designs and tricks for selling bottles, mugs, tumblers, shot glasses and anything else you can drink from.
Restaurants & Bars
“Distributors need to go beyond [just] products and try to sell items that will draw in patrons or get patrons to buy more food and drink,” said Ron Rosencrans, MAS, president of ProRose Inc., Stamford, Conn. He advised pitching items that restaurants can give patrons to take home, such as shot glasses or miniature bar games, that will continue to generate impressions after the customer has left the restaurant. “Free cup with drink promotions are popular,” he noted. “A large restaurant chain used [one of our cups] for a kids drink promotion and gave the cup and straw away with the drink.”
Health clubs are obvious sells for sports bottles, but what about companies that sell to healthy people, like farmers’ markets or juice bars? Jason Emery, vice president sales and marketing for TAGmaster/a division of Dard Products, Evanston, Ill., pointed out that carrying a water bottle is more common now that being healthy is trendy. “Consumers understand the importance of consuming water more now than they have in any recent time,” he said. “As such, it is often that people carry with them their own water bottle or sport bottle throughout the course of the day.”
Mindy Hoffmann, drinkware category manager for Leed’s, New Kensington, Pa., explained that textural enhancements such as debossed imprints can provide a high-end look and feel. Scott Pearson, vice president of merchandise and design for Sweda Company LLC, City of Industry, Calif., agreed, and noted that such features aren’t limited to the actual mug or tumbler itself. “We can also deboss leather or silicone sleeves,” he said.
Stainless Steel & Copolyester
Plastic seems like the go-to for cups and sports bottles, but Brenda Cameron, marketing manager for Atlanta-based Justin Case, mentioned stainless steel and polyester (yes, polyester) are actually the best sellers. “Our stainless steel drinkware continues to be our number-one seller,” she said. “We are also seeing greater interest in our Eastman Tritan copolyester drinkware,” she continued. “This material was introduced in 2007 as a safe alternative to polycarbonate.” She added that copolyester has a glass-like look and is more durable than alternative materials.
BUNDLE WITH OTHER PRODUCTS
Michael Horn, national sales manager for HOWW Manufacturing, Barrington, Ill., described a promotion where a large Texas-based company held a barbecue and beer fest for its employees, and wanted an interesting way to deliver T-shirts featuring a motivational slogan. “We imprinted the mugs with the company logo on one side and the slogan on the other,” he said. “The company rolled up the tees and put them inside the mug, and each employee was given a beautiful collectors mug and a T-shirt when they arrived at the event.”
Always, Always, Always Send Samples
Physical pre-production samples are another option. Steve Ess, sales representative at drink and barware supplier, Co-Rect Products, Golden Valley, Minn., strongly stressed a physical sample’s value when working with large name brands. “We always do a pre-production sample, even if they say ‘Go ahead and run it, we won’t have a problem with it, we’re sure it will be fine,’” he said. “Our feeling is if you really want to do it right, do a sample so that they can look at it and make sure it’s exactly what they want,” explained Ess. “The last thing you want is to do a big order off just an e-proof, then when they receive the order get the call of ‘Hey, it’s not what I thought it was’ or something like that, which does happen.”
Beware of BPA
While the controversy over the dangers of bisphenol-A (BPA) rages on, many suppliers have simply removed products containing BPA from their product line entirely. However, for distributors selling drinkware, it’s not enough to assume all drinkware products are BPA-free. Jim Martin, vice president of Kaufman, Texas-based Numo noted that the company’s product line is also BPA-free, but cautioned distributors about a couple of BPA issues that can come up when placing orders. “One potential issue for distributors is to be cautious when ordering closeouts and discontinued items from suppliers, as they may be old stock manufactured before the BPA issues. The same holds when placing reorders,” he said. Martin also warned that BPA can creep up where you least expect it. “Take the time to understand the decorating methods that are being used on your items, particularly as they relate to product safety. If a mug or bottle is BPA-free and Prop 65-compliant when blank, don’t think that it is after it’s been decorated,” he said. The most important thing to do before placing a drinkware order is to ask questions.
Emery encouraged testing all bottles and cups. “It is important that anything that comes in contact with food or the mouth is tested by an unbiased third-party testing facility,” he said. He advised distributors to be wary of suppliers that are unwilling to provide proof of safety testing. “If a vendor is unable to provide you with the information requested, you are putting both yourself and your client at a great deal of unnecessary risk should the pieces sold be the focus of a recall or potential health issue with the recipient.”
The Ardors of Aqua
Sports bottles are the new “it” accessory. The Elan Water Bottle from TAGmaster/a division of Dard Products is the perfect complement to healthy living with its 9.4375x2.875" body and ergonomic design. For more information, visit www.tagmaster.net.
Powerful wraparound graphics allow your message to be seen and heard. VisionUSA’s ThermalTraveller holds 16 oz., has double-wall insulated, is top-rack dishwasher-safe and includes a mechanical open/close lid. For more information, visit www.vision1usa.com.
The 17 oz. Stainless Steel Desk Water Cup from Justin Case is a solid choice for office promotions. The insulated cup has a screw-on, polypropylene lid, a sealed flip-up straw and a 3x2.5" imprint area. The BPA-free cup measures 8x2.5". For more information, visit www.justincasepromo.com.
Busy schedule got you down? Fill, sip and refuel on the go with the Alumni 22 oz. Bottle from AdImages Drinkware. The lightweight aluminum bottles feature a 2.25x3" imprint area and a twist-on cap to eliminate spillage. Available colors are dark blue, dark gray, green, red or silver. For more information, visit www.adgpromo.com.
Cold as Ice
Did you know tumblers are moody? Avoid the cold shoulder with Logomark’s 16 oz. Color-changing Tumbler with Straw. The polypropylene body changes color when filled with iced beverages. Other features include double wall construction, matching color drinking straw and a translucent snap lid with circular design. For more information, visit www.logomark.com.
Sky’s the Limit
“I love limitations,” said no one ever. People want options—and that’s exactly what they’ll get with the Insulated Paper Cup from Tranter Graphics Inc. End-buyers can choose from various sizes including 12 oz. (pictured), 16 oz., 20 oz. or 24 oz. The cup can be complemented with a black or white lid, and it is double walled which eliminates the need for a coffee sleeve. For more information, visit www.trantergraphics.com.
Makes Me That Much Stronger
American Zebra Line’s 22 oz. Stadium Cup holds 22 oz. of zebra milk, the greatest energy drink in the world. It makes users faster, stronger and better (at least in their minds). The cup also holds a one-color one- or two-side imprint. Editor’s note: “Zebra milk” is really just Four Loko. For more information, visit www.americanzebra.net.
Frozen in Time
Remember Freeze Dance? It was the best part of third grade gym class because we got to show off our sick ’N Sync-inspired moves. Take that, JT. Now you can bring that pop fervor to your clients’ promotions with Berney-Karp’s 20 oz. Freezer Gel Water Bottle. It comes with a one-color, one-side imprint. For more information, visit www.ceramic-source.com.
Abbreves R Da Best
Do you know what you call something with a 2.875x7.5" wrap design? Twen-sta-cup. You can also call it the 20 oz. Stadium Cup from Crown Products if you are not into abbreviations. 2.875x3.25" imprints on each side are also available on the BPA-free plastic cup. For more information, visit www.crownprod.com.
Calling something “meta” is the hipster equivalent of calling something “neat” or “cool.” Thus, the 20 oz. Metalike Bottle with Tethered Lid from Garyline is definitely cool. The dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, FDA-compliant, recyclable bottle measures 2.875x9.375". Imprint options are a 5x3.5" one-side silkscreen or a 6x8x1.125" wrap. Nine lid colors and seven bottle colors are available for the union-made in the USA bottle. (Or does “metalike” mean it is “like metal?” Either way, it is too meta for us.) For more information, visit www.garyline.com.
Bottle With a Twang
Having an accent makes someone interesting, so it must be the same for products. The 20 oz. Silicone Accent Bottle from Hit Promotional Products hit just the right note with its BPA-free Tritan material, screw-on lid, FDA compliance, and impact and shatter resistance. The 9.25" bottle comes in clear with lime green, red, blue, orange or black trim. A 3x2.5" imprint is available. For more information, visit www.hitpromo.net.
Do the Polka
Prime Line’s Accordion Water Bottle is great for polka parties, polka event planners or polka dance studios (among other end-buyers). The polyethylene bottle measures 7.25x3" collapsed and 12.5x3" expanded. It comes with a polypropylene lid, a rubber spout and a 3.5x1" wraparound silkscreen. Available colors are blue, lime green, red or white. For more information, visit www.primeline.com.
No Odor, No Problem
An issue with many reusable water bottles is the bad odor or taste that comes after multiple uses. S&S Creations solves the problem with its odorless Collapsible Silicon Water Bottle. The 20 oz. bottle is made of food-grade silicon. For more information, visit www.sandscreations.com.
Cleanse Your Aura
Having a good aura bodes well for your future. So sell Starline USA Inc.’s 20 oz. Aura Vacuum Tumbler to keep your future bright. The FDA-compliant, dual-wall stainless steel tumbler features vacuum insulation and a silicone non-slip band. Other features are a leak-proof and screw-on lid. Color options are electric blue, green apple, orange or stainless steel. For more information, visit www.starline.com.
From the gym to the office, the Recreation Bottle with Flip Top Lid from CPS/Keystone will help end-buyers stay hydrated. The BPA-free bottle holds 20 oz. of fluids and is available in 15 colors. For more information, visit www.keystoneline.com.