A report released today by Virginia Commonwealth University presents new evidence that an overwhelming majority of all glassware found in the homes of the city’s twenty- and thirty-something restidents is, in fact, illegally removed from local restaurants, pubs and breweries.
The 149-page report found that nearly 92 percent of residents aged 22 to 38 had “a suspicious number” of 16-ounce conical pint glasses stocked in their own cabinets. Most all of the cups feature the the logos of iconic beer brands, such as Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery, as well as local restaurants, including Legends and Capital Ale House.
“What is so interesting about this phenomenon is that people aren’t just drinking alcohol from these glasses, but using them for daily beverage consumption, from water to milk to orange juice, or even as an ice cream bowl,” said Lydia Whalen, VCU’s lead researcher on the report, which observed the cupboard habits of more than 300 people under age 40 in the greater Richmond area. “Furthermore, this is an age group that has a high level of disposable income and could easily afford to buy their own glassware, even pint glasses – yet they choose to create their own collection from that of the local restaurant glassware stock.”
“I know from experience,” the 32-year-old scientist and frequent glass-stealer added.
In only 20 percent of the cases, Whalen said, the glassware was authorized to be removed from the bar in an established and publicized ‘Steal The Glass’ night, an event held by several local breweries and restaurants.
James Schalow, a downtown copywriter, said taking glassware from restaurants is “a fun pastime for me and my friends” – albeit a Class 3 misdemeanor.
“It works best if you have a chick with you, who has a purse that can hold four or five of them at a time,” said the 29-year-old, whose cabinets include three plates, a bowl, and 71 pint glasses marked with an array of beer brand logos. “Those things are all we have in our apartment. Plus they have great grips and stack really well. I’ve even nuked mac and cheese in them. Extremely versatile.”
Restaurant owners having sought revenge with glass stealers by rigging each glass to – at a certain moment in time – slip from the drinker’s hands and smash into millions of tiny, un-sweepable shards.