Lifelong Friends Merged Their Drinkware Business With Their Passion For Boating, And The Result Is A Cause For Celebration
The scene unfolding in the backyard of this waterfront home in Madison, Wisconsin, couldn’t be more American if the president himself stopped by to hand-deliver a perfectly baked apple pie. An American flag whips back and forth in the brisk morning breeze, and across Lake Mendota to the south, Wisconsin’s state capital building—designed to resemble the nation’s capital—peeks over the edges of downtown buildings. Wispy clouds settle close to the horizon, and mild whitecaps dot the dark blue lake.
Reid Pressentin and his best friend, Drew Elliott, have gathered with more than a dozen of Reid’s family members on the shores of this idyllic lake for a mid-summer day of food, drinks, conversation and, of course, Sea Ray boating. The youngest of the bunch, skips across the front yard, her braided pigtails bouncing in unison; aunts and uncles trade stories and laughter over mimosas; the college-aged cousins, dressed in red, white and blue sundresses, floppy beach hats and oversized sunglasses, nibble on squeaky Wisconsin cheesecurds and an array of fresh fruit.
Drew and Reid survey it all from the dock while readying the family’s three Sea Rays for a morning on the water. They work effortlessly together, seeming to know their roles in preparing the boats without discussion. This unspoken connection began at age 6 when Reid’s mother, Cassie, moved the family to the Madison area. “Reid and Drew were on the same soccer team,” Cassie says, holding onto her purple sun hat so the wind doesn’t snatch it. “The first time Drew came over, the two of them went into my basement, lit all of my matches, sprayed silly string everywhere…and they’ve been best friends ever since!” Today, the former partners in crime are partners in business. They own and operateDrinique, a collection of cutting-edge drinkware.
Drinique’s founding story and growing success is also the stuff of American dreams. After graduating from the Arizona State University in 2006, Drew had high hopes for starting his own company. He began tossing around product ideas that would offer unique consumer benefits and also feed his entrepreneurial spirit. Intrigued by recent progress in eco-friendly glassware (and through a little bit of first-hand “bar research”) Drew became passionate about developing glassware that was completely original yet incredibly versatile. After in-depth research and years of hard work, Drinique was born. Made from BPA-free Tritan Copolyester material, the innovative glasses won’t crack or break, provide excellent insulation and have a chic design.
“Drinique’s products are, first and foremost, American-made,” Drew says as he unties the Sea Ray 200 Sport’s lines. “They are eco-friendly, use much less energy to make than most glassware, and they are dishwasher safe.”
“Hey, isn’t it my job to tout the brand?” Reid chimes in with a smile, as he removes the fenders on the other 200 Sport. Drew asked Reid to join his venture as VP of Sales when the concept of Drinique was off the ground. “At first I thought, ‘You want to design cups, huh?’” Reid says with a laugh. “But I know how smart and determined Drew is, and I was very excited to be a part of it.”
After first directing sales toward the hospitality industry for use in hotels, nightclubs and restaurants, Drew and Reid expanded their reach, thanks in large part to their Sea Ray lifestyle. Several weekends throughout the summer, the Pressentin family (with Drew usually in attendance) heads to their cabin on Presque Isle Lake in Northern Wisconsin. They keep a 225 Sea Ray docked there and spend afternoons skiing and wakeboarding. “Every single one of my cousins has learned to slalom behind the Sea Ray,” Reid says. “Uncle Gary and Kristen kept saying how perfect Drinique was for boating because of their durability. They really pushed for it, and soon we developed a version with a twist-on lid—which doubles as a coaster—and a straw hole. So when the lake gets choppy, you don’t have to worry about spilling your drink and making a mess.”
“All you see out here are sea rays,” joey says, pointing to a 280 sundeck off in the distance.”
Reid’s girlfriend, Kristen, unscrews the coaster from the bottom of her glass, and converts it to a lid before hopping onboard the 210 Sport with Reid, Drew, Emily and Bailey. Uncle Gary climbs aboard his 200 Sport with Gigi, Keenan, Payton and Cavanagh, and Uncle Joey and his girlfriend, Heather, hop in the other 200 Sport. The three boats power out toward the middle of the lake and hang a left toward the lake’s southern shoreline. “All you see out here are Sea Rays,” Joey says, pointing to a 280 Sundeck off in the distance.
Reid leads the fleet toward the Mendota Rowing Club boathouse. The midday sun dips in and out of the clouds as the boats idle along the shore, soon passing in front of the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Terrace. College students sip beer while lounging in the terrace’s iconic multi-colored chairs. Others sunbathe out on the docks, and a few take turns jumping into the cool water. The activity seems to flip a switch in Kristen, and with little warning, she jumps into the water herself. The Pressentins laugh and give a round of applause, and before long, half the gang has jumped into the water along with her.
The Pressentin family has nine adult children (five of them and their families are here today) and 26 grandchildren, so family gatherings are often loud, chaotic and incredibly fun. “We’re all very tightly knit,” Reid says. “Kristen and I see family at least once a week, and they’ve definitely helped give me my personality. They’re all little firecrackers!” Drew, although not technically part of the family, has become an honorary member. “Every birthday, every funeral, every family event—Drew’s been there,” Joey says. Emily cuts in, “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I thought Drew was our cousin growing up!”
After a few more dips, everyone climbs back onboard their respective Sea Rays to dry off and head back home. Kristen lounges in the bow, the sun reflecting off her long wet hair, holding a Drinique glass in her hand. Reid smiles at the image. “Sea Ray is really the best company to associate our brand with,” he says. “They are luxury boats, and we are a boutique company that wants to stay high-end.”
When the boats arrive back at the dock, everyone piles out and heads up to the house, discussing where they should head for lunch. They decide on a restaurant with an outdoor patio overlooking the Lake Mendota. For Drew, who now lives in Arizona, and Reid, who now lives in Chicago, the selection is perfect. What better way to savor time at home with family than overlooking the lake where they grew up and that continues to connect them? “We always want to remember where we came from,” Reid says with a hint of pride in his voice. And to that, everyone raises a glass.