Currently Taking Residence in the Freebie Box:
The Original Disposable Flasks™
from Xela, LLC
Carin: When I decided that I wanted to share my, um...infusions with the rest of the editorial crew here at the AntiCraft, I knew I needed a container that wouldn't jack up my shipping costs due to weight, or pop open at altitude in a non-pressurized cargo plane, spilling my efforts into the unappreciative shipping box. Glass bottles were unsuitable on all fronts, including the cost of the bottles themselves. Plastic bottles were hard to find, and possibly more likely to leak under negative pressure. So I went surfing.
The internet, dummy.
I found Xela's disposable flasks. Basically, they're refillable juice-pouch-like containers with a screw-cap. They have several color combinations available, as well as leopard print, a weird camouflage, and clear. Made of sturdy flexible plastic, they withstand a certain amount of rough handling, so they'll survive in your pocket. Xela claims they handle freezing well, so I'm hopeful that a little low pressure should be no problem. While they are disposable, they can also be washed out and reused like a regular flask, at least until they develop leaks from wear. Just make sure you rinse them really well.
Other reviewers tout the fact that Disposable Flasks won't be detected by metal detectors at concerts and sporting event, like a steel flask would. But the AntiCraft would never suggest that you try to circumvent the rules at such venues, just so you can avoid paying $6.50 for a 12 ounce beer, or (gasp!) staying sober. Neither would we eversuggest that you do something illegal, like ship alcoholic beverages without the proper licenses, nor through the U.S. Postal Service at all. We would, however, point out that Disposable Flasks might be a good option for beaches and public parks that disallow glass containers.
As to my own experience with them, I'm generally satisfied. I did find that most of the flasks I used held a scant 7 ounces, a little short of the "approximately 7.5 ounces" printed right on the flasks. A couple of the flasks even overflowed a bit at 7 ounces. It was helpful to hold my funnel so that there was a bit of space between the side of its spout and the side of the flask's mouth, so that air could escape as the flask filled. Also, I had to fill the flask a little past half way, then spread the bottom of the flask out before continuing to fill. If I didn't, the flask wouldn't open fully on its own, reducing its useful volume. Given these minor issues, I think that I'll stick to the transparent flasks in the future, so I can see what I'm doing. I think Xela should consider making flasks with their opaque designs on one side and transparent plastic on the other side, for both fun and visibility.
I discovered, thanks to the wet spot on my ottoman (get your mind out of the gutter!), that one of the flasks had a leak. The seam where the bottom meets the sides didn't seal properly. Rigorous testing failed to find leaks in any of the other eleven flasks. Still, I put them in sealable baggies, just in case. I'm glad I caught this before I shipped them!
My Disposable Flasks are filled. I'm off to find shipping boxes. I can't wait to hear how the flasks do in transit.
Dicey: Two flasks, one leopard-print and one clear, arrived in pristine condition from Carin (who didn't tell us she was doing this; it was a total surprise). They didn't even leak into the plastic baggies. I find them easy to pour from, and even easier to sip from, bypassing the glass. Unfortunately, I had no luck ordering my own from Xela's website (although I have an email in to their helpdesk) and had to get mine from eBay at a slight markup. Oh yeah, I'm totally going to be mailing drinks to friends and family all over the country from now on!
Zabet: My flasks from Carin also arrived safely and leak-free. However, being the paranoid nitpicker than I am, my eyes found the "Made in China" mark and I immediately began to wonder about the type of plastic used, chemical leaching, the environmental impact of manufacturing such a bottle, and if the factory workers were treated fairly and earned a living wage. None of these issues were addressed on Xela's website, so I decided to decant into a glass bottle as soon as possible. Now I just have to wait until I'm off these muscle relaxants* so I can try Carin's beautiful, um... infusions!