East Tenn. glass blowing company recognized across the country
Pretentious Glass Company ships hundreds of pieces across the country every week.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Pretentious Glass Co. makes and sells beer glasses and artwork right in front of customers, where the company has found success, not even the man who started it all could have imagined.
In his 20 years of practicing glass blowing, Matthew Cummings has nearly perfected the art. The idea of turning it into a career was something he would have scoffed at before begrudgingly enrolling in a course back in college.
“Immediately fell in love with it, first semester changed my major and that’s what I have been doing ever since,” said Cummings.
He opened Pretentious Glass Co. in 2012 where he has sold handcrafted pieces straight out of his shop in Knoxville’s Old City.
“If you would have told me then that all of this would have happened then I would have laughed,” he said.
It started when he made custom beer glasses for a group of friends, one of them called the gift, ‘pretentious.’ That is where the name and business took off.
“Several months later we went viral on a few outlets and sold 200 or 300 glasses that night, then full-time to having to hire someone, then another person, then moving to Knoxville so we can have our own glass blowing studio,” he said.
The success never trailed off, he has created custom art pieces for companies across East Tennessee, like downtown hotels and Blackberry Farm. The company also creates specialized beer glasses and holiday-themed collectibles.
“It’s like a buffet of glass items, you get to see everyone’s aesthetic, and everyone’s items,” said Cummings.
Coming up on ten years in business, now with 14 employees, making about 600 glasses per week, all of them pre-sold and mostly shipped across the country.
“They’re all just a little different you can pick out your glass out of 100 other cups, you know it’s yours it’s got that soul and character,” he said. “The quality of our base glass far exceeds anything you can buy mass produced - but someone a person, a crafts person physically made your glass one at a time - it’s hot, it’s not easy work but someone made that and focused their attention on your glass while it was being made.”
Cummings also opened the brewery next door to the glass blowing studio, Pretentious Beer Co., where they brew their own unique beer, and use the handmade glasses to serve customers.
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