Cocktails & Spirits

South Florida Bars and Restaurants Recycle Liquor Bottles to Make Brandles Candles

​The next time you head to the garbage to toss out that empty liquor bottle - think again. 

Why? Because that Corona would be so much better off on your coffee table instead of in the trash.

At least for local entrepreneur Bryan Turner - owner and founder of Brandles. For him, all those empty bottles from last night's party are more than just the cause of your blacked-out hangover. They're also how he started his own business.

You see, back in 2003 -- when Turner was bartending at the now-closed Pompano Beach Italian restaurant known as Vesuvio -- he had an idea.

"I was pouring a bottle of Grey Goose, and I thought to myself: This is a really cool bottle. It's a shame we have to throw it away," said Turner. "I knew there was something I could make with it. I just didn't know what."

After some trial and error - a failed vase and fishbowl for starters - Turner had an epiphany. Why not turn the bottles into candles? Using his contacts from the in-the-biz crowd, Brandles started by reclaiming the refuse produced by a Delray Beach bars and restaurants.

Turner's favorite place to go: The Hurricane Bar and Lounge, the favorite locals' spot in Delray Beach just off Atlantic Ave. that produces hundreds of liquor and beer bottles every week.

"My best provider was the owner of Hurricane, by far. [Pasqual] has gone out of his way to help me year after year. He still saves me probably 200 bottles every week," said Turner.

Also on the list of contributors: Tryst, Falcon House, DIG, Paddy McGee's and American Rock Bar and Grill -- just to name a few.

Today, Turner has a growing business working locally in his Deerfield Beach-based warehouse where he churns out as many as 100 candles a day alongside two assistants. 

And what started with your average Coors, Miller Light and Budweiser cans quickly turned into vintage bottles, special edition and rare finds, as well as big-name brands with flashy labels and intricate glasswork.

These days, the Brandles founder estimates he recycles as many as 500 bottles each week. Even better: The entire product is earth-friendly, from the recycled glass and renewable scented and unscented soy wax, to the specially-made hemp/cotton wick.

"The benefit is that each candle is 100% environmentally-friendly. It won't smoke won't turn black, and lasts three times longer than your typical Yankee brand candle," said Turner.

Most bottles range in price from $15 to $35. Even better, send your empty candle to Brandles and Turner will refill it for just $10. Have a special occasion you'd like to remember forever? Make a memory and send Turner your bottle; he'll make you a candle you can use daily to remind you.

SPREAD THE WORD: Restaurants and bars interested in contributing used bottles to Brandles can visit the company website or Facebook page for more information.

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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna