So for years, I have engraved spirit bottles next to the Johnnie Walker laser etching machine during the holidays. I am a little competitive, so I will just put that out there :). At the same time, I understand where other options outside of hand engraving calligraphy make sense for a business. I live it everyday.
Laser etching machines are great for some businesses in that if you have 1 standard shaped bottle, the machine can do that and most of the time perform well with what it is programmed to do. It is what it is. However, there are drawbacks to etching machines. If they encounter a bottle that has curves, the glass is a little different (thicker/thinner), if a client wants ornate lettering, limited to a particular character amount, the glass has a coating, the machine breaks or has complications...there goes your Houston engraving event. Also, most of those machines (the good ones) are very expensive. There is a machine that one spirit company in Houston uses that costs...wait for it...north of $25,000. Just a little side note, my rate is not that high. No, no, no.
On the contrary, the benefits to having a human hand engrave calligraphy on site for a liquor, wine or fragrance company are: 1) the shape of the bottle doesn't matter 2) the thickness is virtually a non-issue 3) I can work with the curves in the bottle 4) coatings are less of an issue 5) if my handpiece/compressor/regulator breaks, I ALWAYS have 1, if not 2 backup systems with me 6) you want ornate calligraphy...that's what I do :) 7) I have been told that I am as fast if not faster than many of the etching machines. I think that the biggest thing is that a human can adjust where machines can only perform the action that they are programmed for. The human element in hand lettering and calligraphy is so important. It just is.
The whisky bottle above is a perfect example. This European client wanted to have this coated, curved bottle engraved in a calligraphic, ornate script, which of course the machine that they typically use is not designed for. So they contacted me. As always, I was delighted to provide engraving for this corporate client and they were pleased with the result. Cheers!