In the days of bachelor pads, college classes, and the trending cocktail of Moscow mules I ordered a set of copper mugs online. Daily we checked the mailbox of our college house; anxiously anticipating the arrival of our mule mugs. I’ve not forgotten the heavy disappointment that accompanied the opening of that long-awaited package. These were anything but the copper mugs we’d hoped for. We were the proud new owners of a set of highly overrated stainless steel cups, wrapped in a chincy faux-copper coating. I will admit, I praised the company for their free shipping return policy.
A weekend or two later, I found myself “back home” sorting and sifting through hundreds of pounds of scrap-copper in my dad’s commercial refrigeration workshop. Some head scratching, innovation, and a few days later I’d done it; I’d built my own copper mug.
In retrospect, that mug was a far cry from the present-day Handlebend mug we’ve worked so hard to refine…quite simply, it was ugly. I was proud of it, though. I toted it around to gatherings and showed it off to anyone who cared to see it. Nearly instantly, my roommate, best bud, and co-implementor of many projects and parties, Matt wanted a set of mugs. “You can have a set” I told him… “but you’re gonna build them”. Another weekend trip home to the shop found him as the proud new owner of 4 hand-built copper mugs. Needless to say, I was slightly confused as to how he’d ended up with four-to-one copper mugs over me!
The next 5 years found our mugs as the centerpiece of many conversations, and the vessels of many icy beverages; beyond our college years they became the iconic and much-anticipated wedding gift of many of our closest friends. With sets of mugs in many cities around the country, we began getting feedback. “These are such a hit! You need to sell your mugs!”