Rachel Eva and Shawn Michael here from Standard Spoon, back with another great addition to your cocktail kit: the Napier Jigger, a reproduction of a vintage design from the golden era of cocktails:
Jiggers are also often called pourers, measurers, or measuring cups.
A good Jigger should:
- Accurately measure cocktail ingredients
- Account for commonly used measurements
- Be easy to read and use
- Never break
- Bring delight and satisfaction
Why You’ll Fall in Love with the Napier Jigger
Accuracy in cocktail making is essential for a well-balanced drink that tastes like it's supposed to.
But we’ve noticed that most jiggers just aren’t easy to use (especially at a home bar). Many don’t have a good range of measurements, and we often find ourselves needing to use multiple versions and sizes to get that range.
For at-home bartenders without a sink nearby, double sided jiggers are sometimes very impractical. Pour simple syrup into the smaller side, and when you need to use the other side, sticky leftovers drip all over your hand and work surface. The Napier Jigger is one-sided, so you can make all your measurements without making a mess.
The stepped design also means that it's easier to find half-measurements, even when it's dark. Try to estimate an in-between measurement on a v-shaped jigger, and you'll probably miss. Many jiggers with internal markings are hard to read, and it's challenging to tell when your pour is at (or over) the mark you're aiming for. The Napier Jigger simplifies this by having major increments built into its physical construction.
Our re-designed Napier also includes frequently used 1/4 and 3/4 ounce measurements. They are indicated by internal lines marked between the steps in the bottom two sections. Bravo!
METRIC: We launched this project with a jigger design in ounces, but due to popular demand and a huge influx of international backers, we set (and met) our stretch goal of $50K to make a metric jigger as well.
Quality jiggers are hard to find. Both home bartenders and professionals have to deal with cheap tools breaking all the time. This is a big challenge for manufacturing a two-sided jigger, which is why we decided to make it one-sided. It won’t break!
Beautiful tools are breathtaking, and worth making. This jigger is absolute eye candy, and your guests will definitely take notice. Our Napier reproduction pays homage to an incredible vintage design, and looks absolutely stunning.
Space is another issue we wanted to solve. Rather than having multiple versions on the bar-top, wouldn’t you rather have one go-to measure that does it all? Plus it’s hard to keep track of so many tools, and a real pain when one of your four jiggers is missing - and that’s the one you need.
Industry Jigger - No Handle
We're also making a version of the Napier Jigger with no handle. We specifically had bartenders in mind, because it stacks! This saves even more space on the bar-top, especially when one station requires storage of multiple jiggers for making several drinks at once.
The Industry 2-pack comes in stainless steel, which is durable and affordable for high volume use. We haven't yet made these, and it seemed destructive to cut off the handle of a $90 vintage jigger just to illustrate the concept, so use your imagination and these renderings as an illustration:
The Original Napier Jigger (1930’s) & Standard Spoon’s Re-design
Napier was a US jewelry company that began producing barware in the 1930’s. The original stepped jigger was silver-plated, and offered 4 measurements: ½ oz, 1 oz, 1 ½ oz, and 2 oz. If you’re lucky enough to find one of the originals, it will cost you $80 - $275, depending on what condition it’s in.
When we set out to design our ideal jigger, we did a lot of research. We tested and prototyped a few designs, and just weren’t happy with them. One day Rachel came across an Instagram photo of a vintage Napier stepped jigger, and exclaimed - “THIS is exactly what we’ve been searching for!” Then Shawn said “Oh yeah, I’ve seen that jigger before - Jamie Boudreau uses one at Canon in Seattle.”
Sometimes that’s the way brainstorming goes here at Standard Spoon.
We chatted with Jamie about it - he's been using a stepped Napier Jigger for years. He especially likes that since the walls are straight, it's easy to estimate half-measurements (as opposed to V-shaped jiggers), and that it means he now only needs one jigger, not 3.
We were intrigued. It took us months to find and purchase just a few of the vintage pieces to use and test. When we started using them, we fell in love even more. We are so excited to make these available (and affordable) for you to own, use, and fall in love with yourself.
We have made a few modifications to the original design. Partly this is to increase functionality, and partly to prevent shady folks from passing our tools off as originals to unsuspecting collectors:
- Addition of Standard Spoon logo on underside. The original Napier Jigger has “Napier” underneath the handle. Ours will not, but will have our logo on the bottom of the jigger.
- US (oz) Version: Addition of ¼ oz and ¾ oz internal measurements. We will be adding two lines on the inside to make it easier for you to measure these very common amounts. The original Napier Jigger does not have these markings. These markings will be on the inside ONLY and are functional additions - they will not be visible on the outside of the jigger.
- Metric (ml) Version: Since we met our stretch goal, we will also be making a Napier Jigger with milliliter measurements. We want to stick close to the aesthetics of the original design, but also make an accurate metric jigger (not just re-assign labels). The steps will be re-designed to correspond with 15ml, 30ml, 45ml, and 60ml (see more about the ongoing design process below).
- Silver Plated - The original Napier Jigger was silver-plated. We are honoring the original design with a silver-plated version. We are also adding:
- Solid Copper - the copper jigger will be SOLID copper, not plated. Copper plating has a tendency to rub off a little too easily, so when we found out we could make it completely copper, we went for it.
- Gold Plated - we’re not making a solid gold jigger (how much would THAT thing cost?!), but gold plating processes are pretty well developed.
Metric Version of Napier Jigger
We launched a minimum viable product (in oz only) on Kickstarter, and we met our funding goal in 4.5 days. Thanks Backers! That was confirmation we were on the right path. A week into the campaign we already had backers from 21 different countries (as of this writing we're up to 33).
The obvious choice for a stretch goal was to create a version with milliliters for backers using the metric system (basically everyone besides the US, Liberia, and Myanmar).
We'll keep the aesthetic design of the Napier Jigger essentially the same, but the steps will correspond with 15ml, 30ml, 45ml, and 60ml. You can read our announcement (with details) in Backer Update #2.
Since the metric jigger is still in development, be sure to check updates for the latest news on design.
We'll be making the metric jiggers in the same styles and finishes as the imperial jiggers (the ones with ounces) - so just pledge for the Industry 2-pack, Silver, Copper, or Gold. We'll have you indicate ml v. oz in our backer survey when the Kickstarter ends.
Design Prototypes & Manufacturing Plan
This project is a unique one for us, because the product we want to make has already been made - 80 years ago.
The antique jiggers we’ve purchased over the last year are serving as our design prototypes. These are the ones we got:
Pretty rough, right? Some of them don't look great, but all of them were solid and accurate after 80+ years of use. After using them, we decided that this was it.
The jigger above on the left is the silver jigger we used in our video. Note that the final version of our silver jigger will be MUCH cleaner, exhibit no patina or blemishes. It'll look pretty close to this one, the very rare, pristine jigger offered by Sir Jacks (at the time of our Kickstarter launch, the price is $275):
We sent the second vintage jigger to our factory for analysis and to use as a model for our new jiggers. The vintage jigger on the right we plated in Copper, and that's the gorgeous one you see often on this page and in the video.
Our finished jiggers will be just as clean and pristine as the Silver and Copper versions shown here.
Where's the Gold? Vintage jiggers are in such high demand, we couldn't find another one to plate in gold as a sample (also it's been really tough to find someone who does gold plating quickly, economically, and nearby). But we have these digital renderings of the Metric Jigger to help your imagination:
(Note it Again: All the jiggers you see in our video and on this page are vintage Napier Jiggers - even the copper one we've cleaned up and made copper. These are our design prototypes, not production samples. The photos do not demonstrate the modifications we will be making such as additional measurements and a logo on the bottom. We'll have more 3D renderings coming soon to show those changes!)
3D Models & Renderings
Since we hit our original goal in only 4.5 days, we've already gotten started on some of our tasks to move forward! We've made some 3D models, which will be EXTREMELY helpful in communicating accurate design with our manufacturer. Here are some screenshots:
As we continue to make progress, we'll include more information in our Backer Updates - so be sure to check there for the most recent developments.
We have provided these design prototypes to our manufacturer to study and dissect, and they have assured us that they can reproduce the Napier Jigger according to our specifications. We are using the same contract manufacturing team that we’ve used for both of our cocktail spoons and for our Hammered Mixing Glass, and we are very pleased with their work and the history we have with them.
The manufacturer we’ve selected is in the manufacturing district of Shenzhen, China, and is very experienced with barware. They have made jiggers (with and without handles), cups, shakers, flasks, and other bar tools, and have worked with metal plating finishes. We’re confident these can be made just the way we want them!
Now that we've also created 3D design files, we'll be able to clearly communicate measurements, styles, and details in a very direct way.
About Metal Plating
Plating is a finishing process where metal is adhered to the surface of an item. In our case, the Jigger will be manufactured in Stainless Steel, and then coated with either Silver or Gold. The exception: the Copper Jigger will be manufactured in 100% copper (yes, that means all the way through).
Metal plating on any item can rub off with repeated use. In fact, it’s really hard to find a vintage Napier Jigger with pristine silver plating. In addition, modern barware manufacturers often use the most economical plating available to make it look pretty. This is usually just a thin layer, and sensitive to wear.
We’ve already discussed with the factory our desire to apply a thicker layer of plating to the silver- and gold-plated jiggers, so the beautiful finish will be much more durable than other plated barware you may already have in your collection.
Why We're on Kickstarter
The challenge with this product is that tooling and production is VERY expensive. We won’t pull the trigger on tooling and production samples until we know that there’s a desire for this jigger to be made, which is why we’re here on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter not only helps us prove the concept that this is a tool you want us to make, but it also provides us with invaluable feedback from you - our backers - on what's important to you when designing barware. We aim to please!
Once we meet our funding goal, we’ll have the factory start work on tooling and production samples. We’ll review the samples, provide feedback and make any changes that might be necessary, then go to full production.
Our conservative estimate is to have these to you in the Spring. It’s very likely that we’ll get them out sooner, but we’ve learned to build in a time buffer to account for any project delays, sample revisions, holidays, and/or problem solving that might need to take place. Of course, we'll always keep you up to date on any challenges we encounter and victories we celebrate!
Reward Levels & Shipping:
Most of our reward levels are pretty straightforward - we try to keep things simple. You can pledge for one of the four jigger styles (Industry 2-Pack, or Napier Jigger in Silver, Copper, or Gold), or become a benefactor by backing us at the LUXE Stirred Cocktail Kit tier.
We usually have a few fine folks each Kickstarter that want to support the creation of new barware in a big way, and we like to give them something special in return. This time, it's the chance to get both of our cocktail spoons in gold, silver, or copper finishes (currently they are only available in stainless steel).
New Add-On & Reward Tier:
We added the Gold Napier T-Shirt as a Kickstarter Add-on. Backers wanted a way to help us meet our stretch goal, so we gave it to them! The Gold Napier T-Shirt can be added-on to any pledge level by increasing your pledge amount by $25. We also added it as a standalone reward level for those friends who wanted it by itself.
The shirts are super-soft, pre-shrunk, and fit great in both men's and ladies' styles. The gold metallic ink is really durable and has held up great in the wash (I'd washed mine about 12 times when this photo was taken):
Meet the Team
Standard Spoon Barware is just two people: Shawn Michael and Rachel Eva. We love cocktails and good design. We also love Kickstarter – we partnered with backers like you to launch Standard Spoon in 2014, and have brought all of our tools into the world thanks to crowdfunding.
We continue to use Kickstarter because we think it’s important to engage with our community of backers and fans from the very beginning. We also want to be good stewards of our resources – so we won’t invest time and money developing products that no one wants. Kickstarter is the perfect community to give us that feedback, and you are essential in making these tools come to life.
Check out our past Kickstarter projects, and visit standardspoon.com to learn more and shop the store (you can buy spoons, mixing glasses, and muddlers there right now and have them next week!).
Refer Friends and Receive Free Rewards
We are much more likely to succeed if you help us spread the news. But we also recognize that your voice has value, and we definitely value you.
So here's what we're doing: We’re giving away free rewards to backers who share our project and help us make this Jigger.
Here’s how it works:
1) Become a Backer. (You can participate in the Referral Campaign even if you just pledge $1, but you have to be a backer).
2) You’ll receive a Thank You message from us in the first 24 hours after you pledge, which will contain your custom referral link.
3) Send people to our Kickstarter Project using your custom link.
Kickstarter will automatically track the results of anyone who uses your custom referral link, and when they start pledging, you start racking up rewards.
When your friend's contributions total:
- $75 (about 1.5 friends), you’ll get some free SWAG ($25 value)
- $250, you’ll have earned a free Jigger in the finish of your choice!
- $500 or more: all of the above, plus a set of our cocktail spoons, and our brand new Hammered Mixing Glass. ($160 value)
- The first person to refer friends whose contributions total $1,000 will get one of our SUPER RARE Cocobolo Muddlers
Visit www.standardspoon.com/refer for more information, reward photos, and a detailed FAQ
The shirt is also available as an Add-On or stand-alone reward for $25.
Risks and challenges
All manufacturing projects face challenges during the product development lifecycle. If making things was easy, everyone would do it.
This is the fourth cocktail tool that we're manufacturing overseas, and we've learned so much during the process for the other three that we have a good concept of what will be required to move forward. We're aware of common pitfalls (like national holidays delaying production), and are taking extra care to prepare for these in advance. We are also using the same contract manufacturing team that we've been working with since 2014, and we have a very good working relationship with them. They understand our values and the integrity of our tools.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for this particular project is that we have not yet obtained production samples. The factory has assured us that they can produce these tools according to our specifications, but there's always the chance that something won't be exactly right on the first try.
There's also a chance that when we move into mass production, there could be a hiccup or two that happens during the process.
In either case, we'll work with the manufacturing team to problem solve any production challenges.
If this occurs, the impact to the project is usually just a time delay. We are fully prepared for this and have built a big time buffer into our promised delivery timeline. Ideally we won't hit any snags, and we'll be able to deliver well ahead of schedule.
Sometimes a slight design modification may be required in order to move forward. We have very high standards for our designs, and any change will be evaluated in depth, and communicated thoroughly to backers. Maintaining the quality and integrity of our products is always a main priority.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)