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Building North

How North Drinkware was created - A story of success

It started with a single idea. We want to make what we like with our own hands.

How did North Drinkware start? Product designer Matt Capozzi tells the story, from the first spark of an idea, through the trials and tribulations, to crowdfunding success, and beyond, with memorable photos.

Our North Drinkware is a design project started by three friends living in Portland, Oregon.

For many years, I (Matt Capozzi, pictured right) worked in product design for brands like Burton and Nike. It all started when my wife, Leigh Capozzi (pictured), who works in PR and marketing, approached Nic Ramirez (pictured left), an engineer who brings many of Matt's products to life with his creative ideas. is.

All three of us love outdoor activities. On their days off, they were friends who enjoyed snowboarding in the mountains of Oregon. Whenever he found time, his hobby was to continue exploring the mountains of America. Someday, I would like to create products with my own hands from the mountains that I love and that have colored our travels. We dreamed of starting a small craft business like that.


big idea

One day in 2014, I came across a hand-blown glass factory that was a traditional craft technique in Portland. Hand-blown glass, which was a labor-intensive process, was already on the verge of disappearing as an industry. Always looking for a creative challenge, I came across this factory and had a big idea to blend all the things I love.

Local craft beer + deep love for the mountains. Traditional technology + innovative products + premium design. And everything must be American-made (preferably locally made). I immediately brought the idea to Nick and Lee. Drinking beer all night long, of course. That's how North Drinkware started.


Pints ​​and tumblers designed with the famous mountains of three West Coast states, Mount Hood (Oregon), Mount Rainier (Washington), and Half Dome (California), based on 3D data from official USGS (United States Geological Survey) maps. The glass is made from a handmade hand-blown glass. That was the idea.

Prototype production

First, Nick 3D printed the mountains faithfully to the topographical map. A plaster mold was made from it to create a prototype. Modern innovative technology called 3D printing. The good old traditional technique of hand-wiping glass. I was excited about the concept of combining them.

days in the garage

On weekday nights and weekends, in between my various jobs, I continued to make plaster molds in my garage. While drinking beer, of course. Night after night, I put on a dust mask and faced Nick and the plaster. We were imagining the future of North Drinkware and talking about our dreams, but at this point we had no idea whether our ideas could be turned into products.

series of failures

The completed self-made plaster mold was taken to the factory and test production began with the craftsmen at the glass manufacturing factory. I failed again and again. I learned from each mistake and kept looking for a better approach. Homemade plaster molds would break after making one or two glasses, but of course I didn't have the confidence or money to make molds for them. We made plaster molds over and over again and kept blowing them.

Through repeated improvements

In order to recreate the ideal ridgeline mountain range, countless hours were spent revising the mold and exploring the process with craftsmen. At last, the glass of our dreams finally took shape. The day is approaching when our ideas and concepts will become a reality through the process of thinking them up with our own hands.

first toast

The photo shows Nick finally holding his first glass, pouring beer, and making his first toast. It proves that our concept can be produced. we spoke. I might be able to go. We should take the next step. In other words, let's turn it into a business.

decide the date

First of all, when are you going to do it? At the beginning of 2015, I decided to launch a brand through crowdfunding Kickstarter. We chose this method because we wanted to see how the wider community would respond to the brand and idea. Rather, the truth is that we needed funds to make the molds for production.

video shooting

The most difficult task was creating video content and a website that I had never experienced before. However, the concept of this project is to take on the challenge of completing as much work as possible by ourselves. The first video was so bad that I can't show it to you, but it improved little by little, and I progressed one step at a time through trial and error.


Better and further

The three of us spent hours preparing for the launch every day until late at night. Family and friends also helped. With all the photos and videos, it's starting to look more and more like a brand. You're finally ready to share your ideas with the world.

kick off

On Super Bowl Sunday in 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for "The Oregon Pint." I wanted to pay for making molds for production, so I set a goal of $15,000. The period is one month. All I had to do was spread the word about this project to everyone I knew, have a beer, and wait for the results.

Crazy 30 days.

The campaign had incredible results. Oregon Pint surpassed its $15,000 goal in 5 hours and 15 minutes, reached 200% funding in 28 hours, and exceeded 2000% in 5 days. This big news was even picked up by the New York Times. In the end, they managed to raise $530,000 from 5,620 backers in 30 days. The brand North Drinkware was born in just one month.

Keep making, making, making.

All that's left is to make it. By the fall of that year, they were able to produce 13,000 Oregon pints and deliver them to their first supporters. Many trials awaited me during that six-month period. Molding, cooling processing, warehousing, packaging, e-commerce, websites, etc. We completed each task one by one and delivered them one by one.


The challenge continues

In the fall of 2015, they released ``The Washington Pint'' featuring Mount Rainier, and in early 2016 they released their own tumbler glasses. Since then, they have continued to release America's most beloved peaks from each state, and now have a collection of 10 types. I was also able to complete the Cascade Mountains Collection, Pacific Northwest, which I had originally dreamed of at a tap bar in Portland.


Obtained patent

In the spring of 2017, North Drinkware's design was patented. I've noticed that many brands are starting to replicate this concept and design. Protecting our intellectual property was very expensive and time consuming, but I think it's the most important thing for Kraftwerk as a small brand. We also believe that we have a responsibility to our customers who have supported our true originality.


The Mt. Hood Blanket

I took the plunge and returned to Kickstarter in Spring 2018 to expand North Drinkware into further design projects. Released The Mt. Hood Blanket, featuring a geological map of Mt. Hood. This is a collaboration product with Portland's proud traditional brand Pendleton. Manufactured at our own factory in Pendleton, Oregon. Bring home the mountain you envision in your heart. This is a new project.


The Mt. Rainier Blanket

Following the success of the Mt. Hood Blanket, they launched the Mt. Rainier Blanket in 2019. Our commitment to Made in the USA products that celebrate our local mountains continues to evolve every day.


There is only progress

Even in times when the future is uncertain due to the spread of the coronavirus, my love for the mountains remains unchanged. North Drinkware continues to look forward in 2020. Sales will begin in Japan, the second market in the world, in the summer of 2020. Details are still a secret, but we are also starting to develop new products for the new Japanese market. Please look forward to seeing how it grows.

Matt Cappozi, Founder and Designer

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