Situated in the south of Scotland, Angels’ Share Glassware is a small, family-run business that creates unique and expertly handcrafted whisky products.
“We are specialist glass manufacturers and offer luxury high-quality glass from our studio in Scotland,” explains Managing Director Kate Sommerville. “We use a process of glassmaking called ‘Lamp Work’ or ‘Flame Work’ rather than Kiln or Hot Glass work. We manufacture products and giftware items predominantly for the whisky industry and, as our name suggests, we capture the Angels’ Share in a small glass angel, thus creating an icon for this Scottish Whisky legend.”
The company was established in 2013 by Sommerville’s father, Tom Young MBE, an esteemed master glassblower.
“He started glassblowing in this area in 1965,” she shares. “He has secured his legacy by passing his skills along to me as well as several other glassmakers. This has helped to keep the skill alive and re-kindled the glassblowing business for the whisky lover or connoisseur.”
Since launching, the business has grown, both in their product offerings as well as their venue and staff size.
“We started off from a small studio beside our home and now operate from a revised studio and warehouse in the same small town. We have introduced new and innovative products which have won awards in the industry. We also now sell all over the world via our online store and have many stockists worldwide who carry our range. In the U.S. we have stockists in Chicago, Kentucky and Connecticut, and in Canada our stockist is in Calgary, but you can also find our items on Amazon and we have distributors in both Australia and New Zealand.”
Sommerville admits the vocation is not without its fair share of issues.
“For us, the challenges tend to be about capacity. All our glass is made by hand and we use very little automation, so our capacity is limited to what we can produce in a day. This does mean, however, that what you get is unique and special in its own way. In addition to that, training and keeping our skilled glassblowers can be quite difficult. Thankfully the ones we currently have are very committed to our vision and goals.”
Still, she says, the work is worth the many rewards.
“Seeing our products go all over the world and knowing that a product we have made is sitting on someone’s table or in their whisky collection is incredible.”
“It is also nice being able to keep the legend of the Angels’ Share, and of my father, alive.”
Angels’ Share offers up a variety of handcrafted products, including whisky droppers, glasses and an assortment of accessories.
“Our best-selling product is our innovative Whisky water dropper,” explains Sommerville. “Like a pipette, it allows for precise dilution of a dram of whisky. Just one drop of water makes all the difference – especially with single malts – and our droppers are made to measure with complete accuracy. Our signature product is, of course, the whisky-filled Angel representing the Angels’ Share that no one ever sees or gets from the barrel whilst the liquor matures.”
She says that the current Celtic marketplace is strong.
“With the success of things like Outlander, Games of Thrones, Mary Queen of Scots and the like, the thirst for all things Scottish or Celtic is quite high. People love the history and the realness of our nations, and the raw passion and quality products that come from here.
“That said, I believe that there needs to be better engagement between makers and businesses here in Scotland and with those who seek to have a marketplace in locations like the U.S. or Australia. The artisan talent and quality that comes out of Scotland – whether it be food and drink or arts and crafts – is phenomenal.”
Over the next few years, Sommerville hopes to expand the company’s presence in North America.
“We have some brand ambassadors in the U.S. already, but plan to add more as demand increases for our products. We are still growing and hope that our fresh ideas and designs offer something for everyone. Scottish Whisky deserves Scottish Glass, right? That is our passion and – we hope – our legacy.”