The Ultimate Pint Glass, a resistant glass that causes less harm when smashed, is one of more than ten innovations developed as part of the Design Out Crime programme. It was created by a team from Design Bridge, Arc International and the Royal College of Art.
Alcohol-related crime costs the UK £8–13 billion a year and the NHS alone spends £2.7 billion dealing with the consequences, such as injuries from assaults. One of the biggest risks is ‘glassing’, when attackers turn smashed bottles and glasses into weapons.
An obvious solution is to make people drink from plastic vessels in all contexts, not just festivals and gigs, but this would diminish people’s drinking experience and harm business.
Initial research at the Royal College of Art identified various ways to gain the safety of plastic while maintaining the drinking experience of glass. Multiple variants of plastic/glass laminate were then explored by Design Bridge to discover what felt good and was manufacturable. But beyond that, how would you create more value for the pub, bar or club owner – how would you incentivise them to help save money for the NHS?
The answer was in creating a shape that aided pouring and developing glass that's five times more durable. The Ultimate Pint Glass is not just a safer glass, it’s a better glass.
During the challenge, two prototypes for new pint glasses were produced that have the look and feel of normal glasses, but – thanks to binding resin – don't break into shards when dropped or broken.
The Ultimate Pint Glass that went to market is made from a resistant glass that’s very hard to break – but if it does, it shatters into tiny bits, making it useless as a weapon. So the chances of being injured by glass if trouble breaks out in a pub, bar or club are massively reduced.
The Ultimate Pint Glass sold more than double the volume of its UK sales overseas in 2012. The glass is selling well in South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Arc International senses a chance to transform its industry. It now produces eight Ultimate glasses of different sizes and weights.