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Riedel Toasts Coca-Cola With Custom Glass

By:  Jay Moye Feb 13, 2014
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Reidel glass

Coca-Cola now has something in common with chardonnay, cabernet and champagne.

Riedel Crystal, a 258-year-old custom glassmaker known throughout the wine world for its varietal-specific stemware and decanters, has released a glass designed to unfurl Coke’s complex flavors, aromas and mouthfeel. 

Reidel glass

Georg Riedel 


The glass fulfills the lifelong dream of Georg Riedel, the 10th generation owner of the Austrian company. On his fourth birthday -- 60 years ago -- his parents bought him a 12-pack of Coca-Cola. He savored every sip, self-rationing the dozen small glass bottles to make them last.

“World War II was over, but people still were suffering, so to have this sweet taste and effervescence on my palate was a revelation,” Riedel recalled during a phone interview from Napa Valley, Calif.

Last February, Brad Fields from Coke’s worldwide licensing team approached Riedel about partnering on a specialty glass at a tradeshow in Frankfurt, Germany. Riedel agreed to develop his company’s first-ever glass for a non-alcoholic beverage.

“When I asked Georg who my contact would be for the project, he said, ‘me,’” Fields says. “His passion has been incredible since that very first conversation.”

He adds, “Riedel is the Rolls Royce of the drinkware category. We wanted to create a glass that would remind people of the specialness of drinking a Coca-Cola -- and connect back to the brand’s heritage -- and Riedel was the right partner to make that happen. We knew they would do more than just design a cool glass.”

He’s referring to Riedel’s creative approach to custom glassmaking, which fuses art and science to deliver the perfect balance of presentation and functionality. Through extensive tasting workshops, the company develops a vessel that best expresses a particular beverage’s taste and optimizes the multi-sensorial drinking experience.

Reidel glass

Riedel conducted tasting workshops at Coke to inform the glass design.

In April, a panel of executives and marketers with the most intimate knowledge of Coca-Cola’s flavors evaluated 18 Riedel prototypes in Atlanta. They unanimously selected the glass that best expressed the complexities of Coca-Cola’s taste profile.

The winning design was inspired by the curves of Coke’s original contour bottle. According to Riedel, the combination of the size and curvature of the “bowl” and its rim diameter unleash Coke’s sweetness, spiciness and “bite, along with its more subtle nuances. He hopes the glass -- which he describes with the lyrical flair of a sommelier -- will invite consumers to appreciate the brand in a new way.

“We are

accentuating the aromas and details of Coca-Cola’s fresh lemon character blended with malt, and its sweetness and acidity,” he says. “This glass also tames Coca-Cola’s effervescence, which it shares in common with champagne and parfait, to the point where it lingers beautifully on the palate and produces this amazing freshness.”

Thirsty yet? That’s the idea.

“The effect a glass has on taste is widely underestimated by the public,” he concludes. “Most people see a glass as an aesthetic element on a table, not as an instrument. We hope to change that.”

The Coca-Cola + Riedel glass can be purchased at Bed, Bath & Beyond and online at the Coca-Cola Store. Additional retailers are expected to stock the glass in the coming months.