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Our fly blue bottle

A sharp winter’s morning. We descend on a small town in Yorkshire, England, an unlikely home to several major glass bottle manufacturing sites. Inside the sweltering factory at Stoelzle Flaconnage, our iconic blue bottle is being manufactured. This is the first time any of us will have seen it for real…

The factory itself is like the innards of a volcano: the sheer, oppressive heat; the sense of danger from the surroundings; the vibration of the building itself. Eventually we reach the point where flashes of what looks like hot lava tumbles down into the moulds, which shape our cobalt-infused molten glass into a more familiar form. Down below, when the moulds open up and are lifted, our glass appears. It’s conveyed slowly as a glowing, red-hot object at first, before eventually – slowly, from top to bottom – cooling into Waterford blue.

It’s something of a leap of faith, to say the least. One can enjoy the digital renders and the 3D prints, to get an idea of proportion, how it might look. Then of course there was a prototype, though this was in clear glass. But not blue. Indeed, the first time any of us saw it was when it came out of the moulds. And in that sense it’s a lot like giving birth – though perhaps a lot less painful: the expectancy, the waiting, the excitement, the nervousness. Being the curious people we are, we brought along photographer Caolan to capture the moment.

Later comes the inspection, quality control, and then later still will come the final touches of adding the Waterford logo below the shoulder of the bottle. But for now, we’re delighted. In fact, no: the feeling is far more one of relief that it looks as good as it does.

EDITORIAL