“All right, you primitive screwheads, listen up. See this? This … is my BOOMSTICK!”
Ash Williams' iconic line in Army of Darkness is a common trope in TV and movies – and it's good advice for any of us really.
If you ever travel back in time – like Bruce Campbell's protagonist in the third Evil Dead movie – show off some modern technology and people will pretty quickly fall into line, if not treat you like a god. For Ash, his weapon of choice when making it clear he has the drop over locals in the 14th century is also his weapon of choice in the other movies: a twelve-gauge double-barrelled shotgun by Remington.
The imagery might be far less violent but we can (at a stretch maybe) draw parallels between Ash's shotgun and one's favourite beer glass. Aficionados often hold a strong emotional attachment to the glassware from which we choose to drink a given beer (or wine or spirits for that matter), whether it's one designed for a certain style or one that instantly serves as a reminder of a specific moment in time: a beer festival or other special event gone by; a brewery that’s since rebranded.
A desire to capture certain moments and find the right glass for the right beer – combined with a love of pop culture – led Ant Sorbello, Alex Langdon and Ash Milla-Carpenter to launch Boomstick Glassware in August 2020.
“It was that cultural reference of, ‘This is what I drink my beer out of,',” Ant says. “And, at the same time, shows us off as total pop culture nerds.”
The idea for Boomstick developed while Ant and Alex were working for Melbourne’s Bonehead Brewing – the former in sales and brand development, the latter in design. The pair were looking for a fun new project as COVID-19 hit the local beer industry; Ash was working at a neighbouring Kensington café and coffee repair company and jumped on board upon hearing about it.
“We just needed a bit of a stress relief, so Boomstick just really evolved from that,” Ant says.
Aside from wanting to turn their love of pop culture into idols, the prevalence of unique and highly stylised beer glassware in America was one aspect of the craft beer industry there they felt hadn't quite taken off here, even with CRAFTD. launching their lineup in Melbourne back in 2014. Boomstick glasses make use of the wide variety of different shapes and sizes available with the team developing one-off designs, while also working with breweries, restaurants and local artists.
“Alex does a fair chunk of the designs and then we team up with local artists as well and collaborate with them,” Ant says.
Past collaborators have included Grape & Grain, Melbourne tattooist Rudie, and Clint Weaver from pocketbeagles (whose work you can read about in this past Collaborators story here). Ant says their glasses have been receiving really positive feedback from bottleshops, who feel the unique lineup helps round out the shopping experience. Their strictly limited availability only adds to the appeal
“With every glass we bring out, there’s only 48 of them and that’s it,” he says.
Tiny's Bar and Bottleshop, which opened in the Melbourne suburb of Scoresby in March, will act as something of a HQ for Boomstick – Ant works there and the team from Tiny Bear Distillery are involved too. Having a home won't spell an end to collaboration, however – they've been talking to breweries about designing glasses to go with specific beer releases in order to create even greater excitement.
“For me personally, I think that’s a great idea and takes beer to the next level,” Ant says.
“It’s just about having something nice to drink out of. If you’re going to spend $15 on a beer then you’ve got to have something nice to drink it out of, right?”
You can find other articles in the Collaborators series here.