Sometimes, ideas come at odd hours from strange sources. Bar veteran and liquor rep Lucas Plant discovered this two-and-a-half years ago at 3 a.m. one morning, standing in his kitchen drinking cinnamon toast–flavored cereal milk out of his daughter’s plastic bowl, adorned with princesses and fixed with a plastic straw on the lid. It struck him: Why not make an adult version of this — a plastic cup with an attached straw and removable lid that can be reused multiple times and eventually recycled when needed. So he called his uncle, an engineer who had, coincidentally, been the one to design the very princess bowl that sparked Plant’s idea. Together, the two decided to design a reusable cup that could cut down on single-use plastic containers and provide an alternative to bars, restaurants, and even corporations and large venues.
After more than two years of planning and development, Lucas Plant and his business partner Erik Martin — co-owner of Portland-based Aria Gin — have formed Greenway Dynamics and released Sip (spelled on the website as S!p): plastic, dishwasher-safe, BPA-free, reusable bar cups with sealable lids and built-in straws, all made from at least 30 percent recycled material and easily recyclable. Eventually, Plant says, they would want it to be a closed-loop system, with Sip cups made from the recycled remains of other Sip cups. The website claims that the cups each eliminate, on average, 500 single-use cups and straws from circulation.
While development started before the pandemic, the rise of takeout cocktails created another opportunity — the cups also come available with a cap for the straw, so that bars can seal the drinks with tape and sell them as to-go containers. They currently come in two sizes: an 11-ounce Collins glass and a 16-ounce pint glass. The team is likely to expand that with smaller sizes, as the duo realized the cups would work well for kids, too. Plant says his own children always have a Sip cup on their bedside table.
Plant is no stranger to this kind of work, having previously co-founded the local barware shop Bull in China with two other industry workers. So while Sip products aren’t on bar tables yet, he’s optimistic they will be soon. Sip has also partnered with local investment company the Meriwether Group, whose other clients include Dave’s Killer Bread, Water Avenue Coffee, Little Big Burger, and Life of Pie pizzerias. With Meriwether, they’re in talks with larger groups and companies, especially as the cups are easily branded with logos and other designs. “Expect to see them in stadiums in the near future. Expect to see them in stadiums near and far,” Plant says, emphasizing that Portlanders will see them at stadiums “very near,” though without revealing exactly where.
Besides large companies and independent restaurants and bars, Sip is available for consumers at the online store at $5.50 each for the 16-ounce and $4.75 for the 11-ounce.