Glasses are becoming a bit of a cultural phenomenon, but it’s not necessarily because people are drinking them more than ever.
Glasses may have become more popular, but they’re still a very different experience from the one people had in the 1970s, said Michael A. Lutz, professor of glass design and production at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Design and director of the glass collection.
“I think it’s a really interesting observation that people are wearing glasses these days, because they can have them on all day long,” he said.
The glass era started with the first glassware invented in the 1600s.
Today, glass is the most popular type of metal used in glassware, and the glass industry is in the midst of a global boom.
The U.S. is the largest glass producer, but many of the world’s leading brands are making their glass in China.
Luthis, who is also director of glass production and packaging at the Glass Institute in Santa Clara, Calif., says there’s no doubt that glass is changing.
“People are increasingly using glass in new ways,” he says.
The industry is on a tear.
In 2016, the glass market reached a record $1.25 billion, according to Luthys Glass Institute.
In the first three months of 2017, sales of glassware and glassware accessories jumped 9.2% to $1,721 million.
The boom is also reflected in the price of glass.
Glass is currently about $10 to $15 per ounce, but Luthies Glass Institute forecasts that it could hit $20 per ounce by 2019.
And consumers are taking note.
In January, a survey by Glass.com showed that 46% of U.K. consumers were willing to pay more for glass, and 57% said they were willing or able to pay less for other items.
The average American consumes about a dozen glasses a day.
And while glasses are becoming more common, they’re not the only item people are choosing to use them for.
Lutski Glass, a small maker of small glassware in South Bend, Ind., uses glass to make wine glasses and other products.
It’s also been producing wine glasses in China since the 1990s.
Its founder, Thomas Lutskis, says glass is a better alternative to other metal alternatives.
“The price is less than $2 per ounce and you don’t need a lot of space for it, and it’s much easier to fit in a case or cupboard,” he told The Associated Press.
But Lutskin said he also believes that glass will eventually replace stainless steel, which is used in some of his other products, such as glassware.
“For a long time, we’ve been using stainless steel,” Lutskins said.
“In fact, stainless steel was the only material that we used for our glassware.”
The world of glass The glass industry’s boom comes as the world of plastic continues to grow.
In fact, the volume of plastic in the global economy is expected to grow more than 50% by 2020, according the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
That’s a lot more plastic than the glass is now used for, Lutsky said.
And as we age, plastic can become more brittle and eventually break, making it harder to handle.
“As plastic becomes more and more expensive, and we start to see a decline in the quality of our plastics, then we’re going to start to get a lot less glass and a lot fewer other items that can be used for a glassware,” Luths said.
So far, however, Lutys Glass has been able to find its niche with the glassware he makes.
“There’s a little bit of confusion about whether it’s an alternative to stainless steel or a replacement for it,” he explained.
But the glass that he uses is much more durable and will last for generations.