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Cumbria Crystal Shortlisted for Regional Award

The Cumbria Tourism Awards celebrates its 17th year of showcasing the very best local businesses and the individuals behind them. Recognizing the variety & quality of the unique products, services, marketing and sustainable practices within our diverse county being shortlisted is a fantastic achievement. Winners will go on to represent Cumbria at the ‘Visit England Awards for Excellence’ in 2020.

We are delighted to be shortlisted in ‘The Experience of the Year Award’ – Sponsored by the new Carlisle Lake District Airport. Cumbria Crystal’s glass-making ‘Experiences’ offer enables visitors to explore the drama and alchemy of glassblowing in a working factory environment using the traditional tools & techniques evolved over 2000 years.

Our Experiences co-ordinator Clare Wilson joined Cumbria Crystal in 2017 with the brief to develop & expand the Experiences programme into a fun, dramatic & educational activity suitable for all ages from 8 years old. Her specialist glass blowing skills & extensive experience ensure participants of taster sessions, public workshops or One-to-One tuition receive the best and safest tuition and care.

Clare graduated with a BA (Hons) in Glass from Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland and was later selected for the prestigious two-year associate training program at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design in Adelaide, Australia and is where she began to teach introductory glass blowing classes. Clare has worked at Pilchuck Glass School as a student and teaching assistant and been a part of residency programs at the Glazenhuis, Lommel, Belgium; Edinburgh College of Art; Salem State University, MA, USA as part of the Rosenberg residency and most recently at the University for Creative Arts, Farnham.

Cumbria Crystal recently expanded its experiences programme with the introduction of new workshops for two people, these include ‘Bud Vase’ & ‘Two Hearts’ workshops. Experiences are available Saturday to Wednesday weekly.

Bud Vase Experience

In this unique 1-hour experience (for two people) participants will learn to make a colourful blown glass bud vase. Clare will ‘gather’ the molten glass from the furnace on a blowing iron and assist you with your chosen colour. You will be taught how to shape the glass into the correct form before your instructor blows the initial bubble to get the vase started. You will learn how to inflate and shape the glass using traditional wood, newspaper and metal tools. The bubble will then be transferred to a separate punty iron before being ‘opened up’ to create your finished vessel.

Two Hearts Experience

This half hour experience is ideal for two people wishing to share an intensive, fun & memorable experience. Each participant will create a small heart paperweight. Under close supervision you will be shown how to use a variety of glass-makers’ tools to create unique patterns in coloured glass. Each participant will leave (after cooling) with a beautiful keepsake and amazing memories of their time together.

Hearts take 2-3 days to cool and finish.

Our Managing Director Chris Blade says – “Traditional glass blowing is rarely seen today & as such, I am passionate about offering people the opportunity to see & experience it first-hand. The creation of a 5 day a week, hands-on public experiences programme, delivered in the factory alongside our production teams is a powerful way of enhancing this. Clare’s skills, genuine enthusiasm & teaching ability enable us to offer exceptional experiences to our guests. We are therefore delighted & proud to be shortlisted for this Award.”

The next stage involves a visit from a secret shopper to experience glassmaking themselves and assess the customer journey. The report will then be accessed by an independent judging panel who will decide the category winners.

Winners will be announced at an elegant black-tie event on Wednesday 19th June 2019 at the stunning Cartmel Racecourse.

Customer Reviews from our experiences –

“Wow, what a fantastic day for all the family visiting Ulverston. The kids had a really good time learning all about glass making from a professional glass blower. They had the opportunity to try the craft under fantastic supervision from the guide. They really enjoyed making their baubles in a safe environment and we as parents where allowed to watch and take photos. They will never forgot this experience and they have the bauble to cherish for a lifetime. Thanks Cumbria crystal for a fantastic day and memorable experience. Highly recommended for any family visiting, I would phone in advance to book a slot, we didn’t and were lucky but given how much we enjoyed this I would recommend booking. Thanks Mia and Ben.”

“This was my second visit, I have blown my own Christmas bauble and created a paper weight. Tuition was excellent, very safety conscious, the teacher was very passionate about her craft and explained everything in good detail. I really enjoyed the hands on experience in both these classes and having my own products at the end of it was lovely and such a great keepsake of the fantastic time I had. We love visiting Cumbria Crystal even if its just to look around the shop, it’s great to see the artisans practicing their skill while we are there. The crystalware is always of an excellent quality, they have a great choice of products for any occasion, and the work the engravers do is always above and beyond our expectations.”

“I booked this experience for my god daughter, her sister and myself when they were staying with me from Oxford. Both of them are teenagers and I thought it was a great idea (as did they!). It took 15 minutes for each of us to be instructed and to make the bauble ready for the kiln. Our instructor Clare was brilliant, giving us a detailed demonstration beforehand and guiding us throughout the process. She completed the bauble by adding the glass hook at the end before it entered the kiln. Clare was patient, knowledgeable and made the whole thing fun while emphasising the safety aspects all the way through. We collected our works of art the next morning and we are all delighted with the results. Thank you Clare for a great experience!”

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World renowned luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason epitomizes the trend in traditional English Crystalware.

From its fabulous flagship store located at 181 Piccadilly, London to its retail stores at St. Pancreas Station and the Royal Exchange, Fortnum & Mason has always been at the forefront of providing its clients with the best products the world has to offer.


In its 300 years of trading the company has always stayed ahead of new trends and innovations. For instance in 1866 the company introduced the mighty baked bean to Britain for the first time thanks to their belief in a young American entrepreneur determined to introduce this unusual product to the UK Market. Whilst one doesn’t imagine Baked Beans when you think luxury department stores, this was a gastronomic first that took the UK by storm.

Cumbria Crystal as the last UK producer of hand-made luxury Crystal has regularly featured in the most salubrious of surroundings and high profile organizations – these include the famous Glyndebourne Opera House in West Sussex; every Bentley Bentayga Mulliner and Thomas Goode, located in London’s Mayfair and boasting two royal warrants to the British royal household of Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales. We are delighted therefore that Cumbria Crystal will once again become more readily available to available through Fortnum & Mason.

Our Sales contact Mike Iland says “the relationship with Fortnum & Mason builds on our strategy of building working partnerships with luxury brands that value to very best in British artisan skill and design.

Today we see people rejecting fast fashion and the throwaway culture of modern mass-produced, inexpensive products. The appreciation of skill and craftsmanship is returning and with it a resurgence of interest in cut crystal as can be seen in contemporary cocktail bars and exclusive dining venues in cosmopolitan England.”

The Cumbria Crystal Grasmere Collection couldn’t be more suited. The Georgian style regularly features in period dramas including the hugely popular Downton Abbey. Most recently the Grasmere Vintage Champagne SW-008-GR  glass was selected for a luxury £400 cocktail for the prestigious Samling Hotel , Lake Windermere.

Designed in 1976 by Lady Grania Cavendish, an original founder of the company and part of one of the most influential aristocratic families in England , Grasmere is the most time consuming and complex collection to produce. Manufactured using flute, mitre, diamond, rings and hollow cuts the design uses seven different cutting wheels & the collective efforts of the whole team to produce.

The Grasmere collection is available in store at Fortnum & Mason’s, 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER or directly from Cumbria Crystal online at cumbriacrystal.com


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Try your hand at glassblowing – one of many new experiences lined up at Cumbria Crystal!

Experience the 2000 year old tradition of hand blown glass-making at Cumbria Crystal, Ulverston

Being the last manufacture of luxury crystal in the UK, we are famous for producing some of the highest quality hand-blown and cut lead-crystal in the world and are proud to supply clients such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, all the British Embassies and many Royal families.

Our ethos has always been to welcome visitors into the factory to watch glass being blown as there are very few places left that this 2000 year art can still be seen. The educational benefits for young and old alike are undeniable – sharing the experience of watching glass being transformed from sand into crystal and then being worked by artisans at temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees centigrade is close to alchemy and is fascinating to watch. It is rare that visitors to our factory fail to marvel at the collective skills required to create the crystal they see being made in front of them.

In order to extend appreciation of the craft, a small furnace has been built to specifically enable visitors to receive tuition and blow glass alongside our artisans who may well be blowing the crystal used by James Bond in Casino Royale or Downton Abbey.

We are delighted to welcome Clare Wilson to the team to co-ordinate & deliver an extensive programme of activities. Clare studied for three years at the Edinburgh College of Art and trained for four years at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design in Adelaide, Australia, a highly respected contemporary craft organisation. Combined with extensive teaching experience Clare is well placed to revolutionise the experience on offer by offering hands on opportunities to our visitors both near and far.

15 and 30 minute experiences making coloured glass baubles or paperweights are now available and bookable Saturday – Wednesday. Participants will be guided through every step of the process, selecting different coloured glasses to work with, melting the colour into the liquid glass and then blowing & forming the paperweight or bauble. Paperweights are very hands on & in addition participants will be able to form the liquid glass with wet newspaper held in their hands!

Bauble workshops are available from 8+ years (Starting at £20). Paperweight workshops from 13 years+ (£45). Workshops are suitable for group sizes up to 8 people, reservations are recommended especially at busy times, drop in sessions are available subject to availability.

In the coming weeks we will expand the programme to include a three hour tumbler workshop suitable for up to three people, plus half and full-day glass blowing tuition packages suitable for up to two people. These present the perfect opportunity to share an amazing creative experience and develop glass blowing skills, or to give someone an amazing present (gift vouchers are available).

Experience the 2000 year old tradition of hand blown glass-making at Cumbria Crystal, Ulverston

Being the last manufacture of luxury crystal in the UK, we are famous for producing some of the highest quality hand-blown and cut lead-crystal in the world and are proud to supply clients such as Bentley, Rolls Royce, all the British Embassies and many Royal families.

Our ethos has always been to welcome visitors into the factory to watch glass being blown as there are very few places left that this 2000 year art can still be seen. The educational benefits for young and old alike are undeniable – sharing the experience of watching glass being transformed from sand into crystal and then being worked by artisans at temperatures in excess of 1200 degrees centigrade is close to alchemy and is fascinating to watch. It is rare that visitors to our factory fail to marvel at the collective skills required to create the crystal they see being made in front of them.

In order to extend appreciation of the craft, a small furnace has been built to specifically enable visitors to receive tuition and blow glass alongside our artisans who may well be blowing the crystal used by James Bond in Casino Royale or Downton Abbey.

We are delighted to welcome Clare Wilson to the team to co-ordinate & deliver an extensive programme of activities. Clare studied for three years at the Edinburgh College of Art and trained for four years at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design in Adelaide, Australia, a highly respected contemporary craft organisation. Combined with extensive teaching experience Clare is well placed to revolutionise the experience on offer by offering hands on opportunities to our visitors both near and far.

15 and 30 minute experiences making coloured glass baubles or paperweights are now available and bookable Saturday – Wednesday. Participants will be guided through every step of the process, selecting different coloured glasses to work with, melting the colour into the liquid glass and then blowing & forming the paperweight or bauble. Paperweights are very hands on & in addition participants will be able to form the liquid glass with wet newspaper held in their hands!

Bauble workshops are available from 8+ years (Starting at £20). Paperweight workshops from 13 years+ (£45). Workshops are suitable for group sizes up to 8 people, reservations are recommended especially at busy times, drop in sessions are available subject to availability.

In the coming weeks we will expand the programme to include a three hour tumbler workshop suitable for up to three people, plus half and full-day glass blowing tuition packages suitable for up to two people. These present the perfect opportunity to share an amazing creative experience and develop glass blowing skills, or to give someone an amazing present (gift vouchers are available).

For further details, or to book, please contact:

beth@cumbriacrystal.com

www.cumbria crystal.com/blow-a-bauble

+44(0)1229 584 400

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Win a piece of luxury Crystal for your friend from their favourite Collection

To enter fill in the details below.  Your friend will be entered into our Prize Draw for a chance to win a piece of crystal from their favourite collection. The individual piece will be chosen from their preferred collection by Cumbria Crystal and will have a minimum value of £80 RRP. We wish your friend the very best of luck and hope we’re helping banish the blues and lift spirits this January.

Your Name (required)

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Please enter the name of the person you wish to nominate followed by their email address

All entries must be received before the Prize Draw closes at midnight 5th February 2018. By entering above you agree to our full Terms and Conditions below. This does not oblige your nominated friend.

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Win a pair of Grasmere Double Old Fashioned Whisky Tumblers

To enter simply fill in your details below and you will be entered into our Prize Draw for a chance to win a pair of Grasmere Whisky Tumblers.

All entries must be received before the competition closes midnight 6th October 2017. By entering above you agree to our full Terms and Conditions below.

Continue reading Win a pair of Grasmere Double Old Fashioned Whisky Tumblers

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Six Rum-derful facts about Rum!

We keep hearing rumours that rum is destined to become the ‘new gin’ so with that in mind we decided to look into the history of rum, one the worlds most popular drinks on #NationalRumDay. Here are six rum-derful facts you may not have known before!

1. Rum is made from sugarcane by-products – either molasses or sugarcane juice is fermented and distilled to produce a clear spirit. This is then aged in oak barrels according to the manufacturers specifications and recipe.

2. The primary ingredient sugarcane, is a grass of the genus Saccharum. Rums produced from fresh pressed sugarcane juice make up only 3% of all rums, whilst those produced using molasses account for the remaining 97%!

3. After Saccharum’s usefulness (and deliciousness!) was discovered, sugarcane went from being an unknown wild species of grass to the world’s largest cultivated crop.

4. Rum’s history is a chequered and often sad one and to talk of its wonders without acknowledging this would be remiss. As the popularity of rum increased in the 1600’s, more and more plantations were needed. These sugar plantations were supported by a slave-based economy, with people kept as slaves living in wretched conditions with no control over their own lives. Thankfully today’s rum manufacturers are acknowledged for their socially conscious approach.

5. It’s hard to think of rum without envisaging creaking ancient Tall Ships cutting their way across the Atlantic. Rum’s popularity even reached Royal Navy sailors who were supplied rum rations to their crew by the tot (about 70ml of 95.5% Rum!) each midday.

6. Sailing superstition meant glasses were never ‘clinked’ onboard the ship as the sound of ringing glass spelled death for a sailor, and worse the Devil himself would take two sailors if the ringing sound were stopped. Additionally the tot glasses were only washed on the outside as it was believed the lingering rum residue would serve to make the drink stronger. Whilst we no longer believe clinking glasses heralds death, should you be unfortunate enough to chip the rim of your Cumbria Crystal glasses we are often able to repair it – potentially saving you from an unpleasant fate!

Modern rum consumption is broken into two main camps with white or silver rums tending to be used for making cocktails and dark, golden or spiced rums being enjoyed neat, on the rocks or with a mixer. We like ours aged, served over ice; poured from a cut crystal decanter into a beautiful hand-made Cumbria Crystal tumbler or alternatively whizzed up into an all singing all dancing Pina Colada. You can find the definitive recipe for this in our last blog here.

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6 surprising Pina Colada facts and the definitive recipe

If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain (and even if you don’t) then you’ll love our 6 lesser known facts about this wonderfully uplifting drink. Join us as we celebrate National Pina Colada Day!

Pina Colada
Classic Pina Colada served in Cumbria Crystal Lyre Highball

1. It is thought the Pina Colada was being drunk as far back as the 1800’s, and by pirates no less. Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí used the pineapple, coconut and rum cocktail to lift the spirits of his crew. Sadly this original version of the recipe was lost after Roberto’s death in 1825 but we’re guessing it was pretty rum heavy.

2. It wasn’t until 1954 that the drink was brought back to life, Bartender Ramon “Monchito” Marrero is now cited as the drinks official inventor. Ramon worked on the definitive recipe for months in an attempt to encapsulate the essence of Puerto Rico before settling on the Pina Colada.

3. Ramon served the drink for 35 years at the Caribe Hilton before The Pina Colada was officially made the national drink of Puerto Rico in 1978.

4. Rupert Holmes who penned the famous song Escape (The Pina Colada Song) doesn’t like the cocktail, saying it tastes medicinal. He’s wrong. It’s delicious!

5. The famous line originally said ‘if you like Humphrey Bogart’ but was replaced with the “first exotic drink” Rupert could think of.

6. Originally titled ‘Escape’ initial sales of the record were slow as despite its popularity people called it by the name of the cocktail. Reluctantly Rupert Holmes agreed to change the name to Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and the record went straight to number 1.

It wouldn’t be fair to whet your appetite for the drink without giving you the recipe. The below is the official Caribe Hilton recipe. We’ve served it in our Lyre range which was especially created for the modern cocktail drinker and maker.

Pina Colada Recipe

60ml rum

30ml coconut cream

30ml double cream

175ml fresh pineapple juice

¼ pint of crushed ice

Method

Mix rum, cream of coconut, double cream and pineapple juice in a blender. Add ice and stir for 15 seconds. Serve in a 12oz glass and garnish with fresh pineapple and a cherry.

The very fact the Pina Colada warrants a ‘national day’ highlights the resurgence of the cocktail in recent years. Mixologists are constantly driving forward new recipes and adding increasingly dramatic effects to their drinks. Despite this innovation some cocktails are still included on menus around the globe and the Pina Colada remains a tropical favourite. Enjoy yours!

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Our 3 favourite unexpected martini facts, and the best way to drink it!

Grasmere Martini Glass, Sipsmith Gin, Martini Extra Dry

It’s #nationalmartiniday and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this wonderful drink than by drinking it!

Before we share our classic recipe here are our three favourite facts about one of the worlds best loved boozy drinks:

Grasmere Cocktail Glass, Martini, Sipsmith Gin, Gin, Cocktail Shaker, Martini1. The martini glass pre-dates the drink itself. Previously known simply as a cocktail glass, the prerequisites for any good cocktail glass are to have a long stem to avoid affecting the temperature of the aromatic elixir within and to have a inverted conical bowl. Originally cocktail glasses were made from high-quality lead crystal and held around 13 cl of liquid. With the rise of mechanical glass-making the cocktail glass can now be bought in a variety of sizes and shapes. Luxury lead hand-blown crystal is still made today, but is sadly a dying art. We are in fact the last manufacturers of hand-blown, hand-cut luxury lead crystal in Britain, so thankfully you can still observe the tradition. You can bring your collection up to date with our Boogie Woogie range, which was created with mixology in mind!

2. Famous martini lovers have included Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and of course…Cumbria Crystal’s number one fan…James Bond. This celebrity endorsement helped cement the cocktail’s reputation and it has never left the cocktail menu since. Variations on the classic gin and vermouth cocktail include a dirty martini, where olive brine is introduced, but no variations have the same gravitas as James Bond’s ubiquitous ‘shaken not stirred’ instructions. However you like yours is fine by us though as we aren’t quite so strict as 007!

3. Vermouth the undisputed alchemist in the martini is the gin of the wine world. Flavoured with botanicals such as bark, herbs, seeds and spices additional alcohol (often grape brandy) is added to the neutral wine before the fermentation process begins, it is then sweetened afterwards to varying degrees. Each vermouth has its own closely guarded secret recipe of botanicals to be included. At one stage vermouth was thought to be medicinal and was prescribed liberally as a tonic to cure a variety of ailments, perhaps not so surprising given its aromatic herby flavour.

Here is our favourite take on 007s favourite tipple, which simply must be served in a Grasmere martini glass (also 007’s favourite range judging by his partiality to them in Casino Royale)  – a fool proof (with a very high % proof!) cocktail recipe for you to enjoy.

You will need

A quality martini glass (see our range here!)

5 parts Sipsmith gin

1 part Vermouth (we love Martini – Extra Dry)

Green olive (in brine not oil) – Or Lemon rind

1. Chill your Grasmere martini glass. Our lead crystal glasses can be chilled in the fridge or if you just can’t wait fill it and gently swill it full of ice

2. Generously fill a shaker or tall separate glass with large ice cubes

3. Pour over the Vermouth

4. Pour in the gin…hurrah! Gin!

5. Shake it or stir it with a tall spoon, contrary to Mr Bond’s instructions we don’t think it matters too much

6. Pour it into your empty chilled Grasmere martini glass

7. Garnish with an olive or twist your lemon slice in to release the oils

8. Drink it. Actually – sip it. It’s strong!

9. Enjoy the slightly warm giggly feeling

10. Make another

Sadly the history of the martini’s invention has been claimed by so many people that it’s unclear who invented this delightfully uplifting drink but we thank whoever they were from the bottom of our glass! Can’t wait until next year!