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Raising your spirits: Las Vegas-born NEAT glasses offer a unique drinking experience

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NEAT glasses leave the consumer with nothing but the natural smell of the spirit.
Photo: Christopher DeVargas

Can a glass change your whole drinking experience? Las Vegans Christine Crnek and George Manska not only believe it can, they believe they’ve created a product that proves it.

It’s called a NEAT—Naturally Engineered Aroma Technology—glass. Co-creator Crnek says the shape of the glass helps to dissipate the alcohol in spirits 40 proof and above, leaving the consumer with nothing but the natural smell of the spirit.

The glasses debuted in February 2012 and have already been named the official tasting glass of the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the Beverage Industry News 2013 Editors’ Choice for Excellence Award, the 2013 Santa Barbara Tequila Harvest Festival and, most recently, the 2013 New York World Spirits Competition.

Not too shabby for something that started as an accident. Manska, an engineer with Ford for 20 years, became fascinated with glass blowing after meeting Dale Chihuly at a wine tasting and produced several objects during a short-lived class in 2006, all of which he tucked away into a curio cabinet. One night, Manska grabbed one of his failed experiments, poured in some Macallan Cask Strength, smelled it and, according to Crnek, “immediately thought, ‘What the heck is this? That’s not scotch.’” Realizing he had something unique, Manska enlisted Crnek’s help to refine the shape of the glass, get patents and arrange the scientific research to prove the glass’ aroma-enhancing properties. It took more than five years, but the duo, who formed Arsilica, Inc., to produce and market the product, are starting to see significant results. Just last month, their product began selling at Total Wines nationwide.

Still, Crnek says not to take her word for it: Do a side-by-side comparison with your current favorite glass.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Weekly's associate editor, having previously served as assistant features editor at the Las Vegas Sun ...

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