‘Save a bottle, save a buck’: BYOB focuses on re-use | TheUnion.com

‘Save a bottle, save a buck’: BYOB focuses on re-use

Submitted to The Union

Submitted photo by John Burnett

About 10 years ago, wine-maker Tony Norskog went fishing for several days at Lake Faucherie with Paul Matson. When packing up to go home, they noticed more than a few empty wine bottles and began considering to how those glass containers could be better used outside of the recycle/waste stream.

Ultimately, business manager Sally Harris developed some potential models, a nice space on Zion Street was found, and in September 2011, they opened BYOB for business.

In a nutshell, their customers are offered an incentive of $1 for refilling their empty BYOB bottles with an extra dollar off for bringing six bottles in with their six pack bag or a $7 discount altogether.

"There are valid concerns on all levels relative to the carbon footprint topic. While reusing our glass is only one of our business goals, I estimate we save the equivalent of a semi-truck load of glass bottles every year," said Tony Norskog, founder of the Nevada County Wine Guild and the tasting room on Zion Street. "While it may seem like a small thing, at the same time, we're able to reuse the label over and over. These two things combined with their associated cost savings help us to offer quality wines at family pricing levels."

Among the wine offerings always available are some organic wines, as well as organic sulfite-free wines, a specialty of Norskog's. Four stainless-steel tanks provide the home for dispensing the product into the bottles, one bottle at a time. Two old-fashioned hand corkers are used to finish the production process.

BYOB recently teamed up with nonprofit, Recork, whose goal is to promote the use of real cork wherever possible to encourage sustaining the cork forests of several Mediterranean countries in regions of little rain and poor, sandy soil. So far, more than 400 pounds of cork has been recycled. The corks are converted to soles and insoles of shoes. Customers can bring in their used corks to be recycled through Recork.

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"It is a real pleasure to work at our store. Over time, we get to know our customers, their names and interests, and often, we become friends. They also get to know each other, and it is a very comfortable and, at times, festive environment," said store manager Paul Matson.

BYOB's environmental consciousness appears to be right at home in the Seven Hills Business District.

"While it can be at times complicated, it's always interesting and exciting to run a small business. We are very happy to be working in unison with two other neighboring Seven Hills Business District operations, the Ol' Republic Brewery and S.O.A.P. Both offer refilling programs with their fine products," said Harris. "Being right down the street from the Hospice Gift and Thrift fills that bill quite as well with the thousands of items they reuse and repurpose to help fund their highly important mission in our community."

BYOB is open noon to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and is located between the Magickal Florist and Fudenjuice at 821 Zion St. in Nevada City.

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