Cutting Beer Bottles for Fun and Profit

Well….not really.

There hasn’t been much profit to be made and it isn’t that fun either. It’s more frustrating than anything.

The Synopsis:

I first came across Bottle Cutting Inc. through Facebook when I saw that a friend of mine who usually likes interesting things liked their page. I thought it would be a great addition to my list of side hustles for a couple of reasons:

  • I like beer. Other people like beer.
  • I like upcycling things when possible but more importantly, people like buying upcycled things.
  • It seemed pretty simple to do.
  • It seemed pretty lucrative once I came across this Etsy store and saw the prices.
  • Drinking beer would be the first step to getting my product. Oh darn…

The Good: 

The Bottle Cutting Inc. had a great video that showed how easy it is (or could be) to cut glass bottles. It took the guy about 5 minutes to cut a bottle which means I could cut up to 12 bottles an hour once I got really good. That means I’d have over $100 worth of product for sale in an hour according to the prices that I came across during my research.

Do that a couple of hours a day, and I’d have a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff ready to sell. Easy!

I was still a little skeptical because this seemed like a really lucrative business idea so I checked out all the product reviews. There were lots that were very good so those doubts were now gone.

There wasn’t much competition on Etsy so I would be a big fish in a big sea. By checking out that other Etsy store, it seemed like they would make great groomsman gifts and with my current experience of working in the events industry, I know that people are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money on their weddings and everything that goes with it.

I could also branch out into glass Coca Cola bottles and other soda bottles such as cream soda and root beer. There are lots of soda fanatics out there and this would be another new industry that my products would appeal to.

I decided to go ahead and take a plunge into the glass bottle cutting hustle and ordered a Kinkajou bottle cutter with all the bells and whistles.

The Bad:

It turns out that cutting straight cuts in beer bottles is extremely difficult. That’s probably why there wasn’t much competition on Etsy and why prices are so high and seemingly lucrative.

The only test run I did was with a group of 8 bottles. Out of the 8, only 50% (4), were deemed “sellable” to me. Of the 4 that were rejected, 2 were extremely crooked and 2 actually shattered.

Let’s just use Newcastle as an example. A 12-pack costs close to $20 where we live. Let’s say I have the same success rate as my first run so I have 6 that are “sellable.” If I were to sell 2 for $9 like the other shop, I’d eventually have revenue of $54 coming in from this 12-pack (if I were to sell them all.)

But then Etsy would take about 3% in selling fees and then either Etsy or Paypal would take about 3% to process the payment so I’m out another $3.24 from that.

I’m down to about $30 in profit which isn’t bad but I’d also have to purchase boxes and packing material to ship the final product, not to mention that the bottle cutter cost me $105 so it would take a while to eventually see some sort of profit.

It also took a lot longer than 5 minutes to cut the bottles. I’m sure this would decrease with an increase of experience and I would eventually become more efficient but still.

Another issue that I came across was what to do with paper labels. They would quickly rub off in water if they weren’t sealed. So I’d either have to cut bottles that strictly don’t have paper labels which would mean I couldn’t work with certain brands or I’d have to buy some sort of sealer to seal the labels which would be another expense and take more time to create.

It would take some research to find a sealant that would work efficiently which I quite frankly, don’t have the time for.

I haven’t touched on the worst part yet; what it someone injured themselves on one of the glasses that I sold them? I’m an amateur glass cutter so who knows how good I’m actually cutting these glasses?! What if there’s a jagged edge and someone cuts their lip on it? Could they sue me? Do I want to find out? No, not really.

The Bottom Line:

Cutting glass bottles to turn them into glasses could become a great hobby but I don’t think it’s a viable money-making opportunity. At least not for me.

There is a bit of a learning curve to cut a straight line which could cost you lots of money in beer. If you’re planning on drinking a lot of beer, it’s already a sunken cost so it might not be such a big deal. I’m more of a casual beer drinker so this would be an unneeded expense for me.

It  could be fun to learn to do in my “free time” but I’d rather do other things.

I’ll stick to doing other side hustles and I’ll chock this one up as a loss.

If anyone wants a basically brand new Kinkajou Bottle Cutter and all that’s involved at a good price, please reach out to me. I’ll give you a good deal!

* * *

There are no affiliate links in the above article. I sell old books using BookScouter. I sell stuff on Etsy and eBay. I use Shopify to run my online business. I make some money by taking pictures of my grocery receipts with Ibotta. I’m Marc the Shark , this is the Self Employed Movement, and yes, these are affiliate links.

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2 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, there are so many things on Etsy that seem like they’d be easy and then they aren’t. I decided I was going to make lip balm named and flavored after literary novels with the clever name Lit Sticks and the whole thing was a debacle.

    I’m pretty sure the people who do really well with it must be sort of passionate about it hobby-wise and enjoy the experimenting and stuff to get to the final product – AND THEN they start to sell on Etsy. Because otherwise it’s sort of miserable.

    At least, that’s how I felt. Your story makes me glad I’m not the only one!!

    Like

    • They do make it seem easy, don’t they! Lit Sticks sounds clever. Too bad it didn’t work out. But you don’t know until you try, right? Thanks for sharing your experience so I don’t feel like I’m the only one either!

      Like

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