Bar Counters Made From Recycled Beer And Wine Bottles

The Bricklayers Arms in quaintly named Hogpits Bottom, in Flaunden, Hertfordshire, is certainly no ordinary country pub. Offering a stunning Anglo-French fusion menu in a delightful 18th century setting, it is listed in the Michelin and Good Pub guides, is Restaurant of the Year in the acclaimed Foodie Magazine, and was shortlisted for The Publican’s Freehouse of the Year 2011 award. Twice named Chef of the Year, its executive chef Claude Paillet himself trained with renowned Michelin 3-star restaurateur Pierre Gagnaire.

So when owners Alvin and Sally Michaels were looking to upgrade the bar counters and back bar area at the Bricklayers, they didn’t want to settle for anything ordinary. They wanted a high class finish that was easy to maintain, which would blend into the cosy surroundings of a Grade II listed country pub and, most important of all, which could be installed in a single day, so as not to disrupt their busy lunchtime and evening trade more than absolutely necessary. The material they chose is a diamond-polished recycled glass Vetro Moretti agglomerate finish, by Granite Transformations, which fittingly for these licensed premises is actually made from used wine and beer bottles.

The work was carried out by the Granite Transformations showroom in St Albans Road, Watford and franchise owner Frank Dalton explains that it was the material’s unique properties that made it possible to conform with the Michaels’ timescale: “Because it’s tough, yet lightweight enough to fit over the existing bar counters, we were able to complete the whole installation in under a day, complete with free-standing shelf units that were built off-site. With any heavier material, we’d have had to rip out the original woodwork, with lots of debris and demolition, meaning they would’ve lost valuable trading time.”

Alvin Michaels is delighted with the refurbishment work and luxurious finish: “If we had put wood down, it would have needed days to settle, then treat and harden, as well as requiring regular varnishing and maintenance. With the Granite Transformations product, they measured up and templated the fittings one morning, then we closed the bar for a day and they installed the new counter tops and back bar fittings by the end of the afternoon. We were also carrying out refurbishment of the restaurant kitchen, so Frank and his team had to comply with our timescale, because we can have as many as 400 or 500 covers over a weekend.”

Alvin and Sally, who have owned the Bricklayers for eight years and been in the food business for many years, have natural granite worktops in the kitchen of their own home, but find these need regular maintenance, unlike the Granite Transformations agglomerate surfaces.

“It’s a very resilient product and we don’t have to maintain it at all,” says Alvin. “It looks good, the colour we chose blends in beautifully with the existing wood, and the finish introduces a modern, fashionable touch. The ‘green’ angle is appealing and it’s fitting that the material is made from recycled beer and wine bottles. What could be more apt.”

Chosen from the Granite Transformations Trend G collection, Vetro Moretti contains up to 72% post-consumer recycled glass, reclaimed from used beer, wine and mineral water bottles. Bonded together with a clear polymer resin, this creates a material that is extremely tough, heat, stain and scratch resistant, as well as being certificated for low emissions of VOCs and other toxins. The distinctive manufacturing process uses 50% less raw material than other engineered surfaces and the finished slabs are just 6.7mm thick, allowing them to be bonded directly over existing worktops and finishes, typically facilitating installation in just one day.

Trend G recycled glass materials are non-porous, so never need resealing or require harsh chemical treatments, and have been internationally tested and approved for breaking and flexing strength, thermal shock, impact resistance and withstanding cigarette burns. There is even a manufacturer-backed lifetime material warranty, making it the ideal choice for busy domestic settings, in the kitchen, bathroom and outside living spaces, and high traffic commercial applications like The Bricklayers Arms.

Offered in a choice of colours, Trend G and other agglomerate surfaces are available exclusively from Granite Transformations showrooms across the country, including Frank Dalton’s stores in Watford and Acton.

For further details, contact Granite Transformations, Decimus Park, Kingstanding Way, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3GP, tel 0800 822 3410 or visit

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