“There was a time when ice was considered a luxury of kings, and of those who could afford it,” says Roberto Sequeira, founder of the Gläce Luxury Ice Company. “What we notice is that once ice became ubiquitous, what we evolved for convenience, we lost in quality.” Sequeira wanted to manufacture a product that was completely consistent in flavor, dilution, and shape. And thus, an idea was born.
The “technical birth,” as Sequeira calls it, took form while he was in business school. “The concept was to remedy all the things could be perceived as shortcomings of regular ice. Ice is water before it is ice. You can change the shape of ice, but that does not make it improve in quality.”
There are plenty of products on the market today, but Sequeira wanted to focus on a specific part of the market. “The choice was simple — do you want to compete with the Hyundais or the Lamborghinis? The only way that this was going to be fun for me was to be in the places I wanted to be. We want to become the ice brand of choice for connoisseurs and luxury properties… for the ‘On the Rocks’ experience.”
“On the rocks’ is sort of a generic ‘prescription.’ We are addressing the imperfections behind the ‘prescription.’ So, from the beginning, our conversations were always brand focused. As people were becoming evangelists on why [a certain spirit] mattered, we could get back on message for why ice mattered.”
What he argues is that when someone orders something like Macallan (a brand his company works with), on the rocks, it should be completely consistent down to the ice cube that clinks in the glass. There were two essential parameters in Sequeira’s mind: ‘zero’ taste and precise size. “Zero-taste is purposeful”, says Sequeira. “There is no minerality in Gläce; it’s not meant for regular consumption. We are meant to complement fine spirits. Wherever we source, we are going to strip the water to get to a zero base line.” In contrast, homemade ice and some bar ice is made directly from tap water, which is full of impurities that can dilute into a drink and change the flavor.
And the size? “It is important that the perfect dance partner do what it’s supposed to do,” observes Sequeira. “When you are looking for chilled and minimal dilution, we found magic at about 2 to 2 1/4 inches. Each piece of ice has about a 15 to 20 minutes dilution rate.” The ice is available in two shapes, the Mariko Sphere and the G3 (G-Cube); each piece is individually carved from a larger block, and then packed in a re-sealable pouch with a one-way air valve closure.
The ice world hasn’t changed much since Sequeira started the company. Of course, there are modern ice machines that now make ice for craft bars, and there are bartenders who chip their own ice to order. Sequeira has complete respect for both of these enterprises, setting his sights elsewhere. For the corporate world, Gläce is about offering high volume, cleanliness, and a lack of on the job injuries. For the spirits enthusiast, the ice ensures consistency and purity in the home environment. As Sequeira observes confidently, “We don’t sell a machine; we sell a product.”
Pricing for Gläce Ice:
2 Classic Pouches, one each of Mariko Spheres and G-Cubed – $205.00
1 Case (50 pieces), Mariko Shperes or G-Cubed: $325
Tudor Luxury Ice Club: $1,100 ($275 each quarter)
Tudor Luxury Ice Club Elite Pre-Pay: $995.00