AUSTRALIA is widely known for its drinking culture. But Sunshine Coast husband and wife Steven and Sarah Earl are looking at the bright side and have turned our boozed-up lifestyle into a business initiative.
They're the ultimate up-cyclers: changing empty beer and spirit bottles into unique souvenirs from goblets to key rings and snack trays to ornamental tractors.
The Earls are able to turn your prized possessions into art. And if you have a bottle that is precious to you, they can turn it into a beer stein.
They started by making glasses for family and friends when the word got out about their unique creations.
They now operate as Down the Hatch at various markets across the Sunshine Coast.
"Being a small country town, word spread and we soon had people knocking on our door at all hours - even Christmas Eve - asking if we were the people who made those cups,” Steven said.
The two create the carefully hand-made items at a home studio and sell them at the Eumundi Markets each Saturday and the Caloundra Street Fair on Sundays.
The big question, though, is: where do they get all of those empty bottles?
"It is always a challenge for us to source enough bottles, especially as we need the labels to be in mint condition,” Steven said.
"We spend lots of money each year purchasing rare, limited-edition and collectable bottles throughout Australia and all over the world.
"We have a number of locals who donate their empty bottles on a regular basis as they love recycling and our product.”
The Earls pride themselves on keeping products out of landfill and turning them into memorable and unique souvenirs.
Some of the items take up to a day to create.
"Working with glass is time-consuming and a labour of love,” Sarah said.
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