Dom Perignon, on tasting the first glass of champagne ever poured, is said to have proclaimed, “I’m drinking stars.”
Ever since that moment, bubbly has been on hand for most celebrations, and heaven knows it needs to be served in the proper vessel: a champagne flute.
While glassware is often marked with brand names or other messages, this New Year a special opportunity presented itself. What better, and rarer, occasion than a millennium-flip to toast with champagne? Put the two together and you get Year 2000 flutes.
This spotlight shows a representative sampling of the positioning strategies for flutes featuring the year 2000 in their design.
To give an indication of what the new millennium means for retail in general, online auction house eBay had a whopping 168 pages of millennium merchandise at one point this December. In stores, online and in catalogs, everything from sweaters and tiaras to Fiesta Ware and candles were emblazoned with those four big numerals.
The category—houseware, gift or collectible—to which such a glass belongs depends largely on the flute itself. They run the gamut from low-priced “functional” glasses sold in larger sets to expensive, custom-designed “high-end-collectible” type flutes.
If the flutes turn up in time capsules, they will help future cultural anthropologists assess “turn-of-the-millennium” tastes and styles. Some are crystal, some glass, some metal, some painted, some with numerals arranged vertically as the stem, some with the year molded into the base. One has the 2000 arranged in rhinestones on the bowl. All held the promise of festivity and good spirits for a day many feared would be ... the end of the world.
Inventory Dilemma: Sell Out or Planned Overage?
Experts agree that for catalogers, buying and merchandising an item like this is a tough call.
Merchandising consultant Carol Fraser of Fraser Associates in Sausalito, CA, says there were three main vendors of 2000 flutes at the early-year product shows: one French, one German, one domestic; then there were the international custom suppliers.