Ever wonder where those colorful beer mugs at Rose Alley Ale House in New Bedford come from? Well, I did some digging and found the folks responsible for those vibrant masterpieces.

Nestled in Sandwich, Massachusetts, McDermott Glass Studio represents craftsmanship and community spirit. For 23 years, the studio has been a hub of creativity, guided by the skilled hands of its 70-year-old owner, David McDermott, wife Yukimi Matsumoto and business partner Mike Guzzardo.

McDermott is the mastermind behind the beautiful mugs earned by finishers of Rose Alley's annual Beer Summit.

How Rose Alley's Beer Summit Mugs Began

The journey began 15 years ago when Rose Alley approached McDermott's studio with a mug design needing refinement. With his keen eye for detail and decades of experience in glassmaking, McDermott quickly identified design flaws and fixed the problem instantly. Thus began a partnership that has blossomed over the years, with McDermott providing the in-demand mugs for summit participants.

What started out as 150 mugs for the event's inaugural year has become an event that had McDermott crafting 800 mugs for the most recent summit.

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"I've been doing glass for 51 years," McDermott said. "We make vases, stemware, bowls, sculptures and basically whatever the customer wants. As long as I can pay the gas bill, I don't care, but we truly enjoy making these mugs."

Beyond Cape Cod, McDermott's creations have found homes in bars and galleries nationwide, from Texas to Georgia and even Hawaii.

Rose Alley Ale House via Facebook
Rose Alley Ale House via Facebook

What Makes Rose Alley Beer Summit Mugs Special

No two mugs in the Rose Alley Beer Summit are exactly alike, and that's no accident.

"We'll do five mugs in the same color scheme, but they'll have different handles, from ribbed to twists, etcetera," McDermott said. "Then, we dip some in oil water for a crackle look on others to change the pattern. There's just so many different things we're able to do to make it different, and each mug is unique in its own way and never duplicated."

Despite his important, yet behind-the-scenes, role in the summit festivities, McDermott said he has never participated as a drinker. "I wish I could, but I'm too busy and I don't drink," he said.

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Every February, Rose Alley invites patrons to try 28 craft beers in 28 days. The reward for finishing the summit, aside from bragging rights, is a one-of-a-kind mug that hangs above the bar for the year. On any given day, you'll see people throughout the bar and restaurant drinking beer, cocktails or soda out of their special glasses.

David McDermott's Message to Rose Alley Summit Participants

In a heartfelt message to the Rose Alley "Summit Club" and all who have cherished his mugs over the years, McDermott said, "We do it for them. It's not about us. We hope they enjoy it and we're able to please as many people as possible."

McDermott said he has also worked on commissioned pieces for U.S presidents, Pope John Paul II, the Empress of Japan, the Bank of Scotland, Henry Kissinger and the Ladies Professional Golf Association, among others, further solidifying his reputation as a master craftsman with a global reach.

The next time you visit Rose Alley, you'll be able to share the story of the Cape Cod man behind the mugs hanging over 40 beer taps.  As long as McDermott continues to shape molten glass into works of art, the spirit of the Beer Summit will live on in every sip taken from his beloved mugs.

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