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"Cool" Barware

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Castleton, Vermont - March 6, 2009

Stone is at the foundation of Vermont. Stoneworker Kevin Boudreau says, "I do carry a high level of pride in my work."

A fourth-generation stoneworker, Boudreau knows his state is also famous for its thriftiness. Boudreau explains, "We had to devise a way to use all our scrap."

So when the team at the Vermont Marble, Granite, Slate and Soapstone Company in Castleton wanted to reduce their waste, they came up with one "cool" idea.

The company produces stone ice cubes. The pieces of soapstone left over from making their sinks and stoves, including their new "Vermont Bun Baker," get shaped into little cubes. Just pop them in the freezer, then drop them in your drink.

Company president Paul Thompson says, "Soapstone being a stone that retains temperature so well, it works out great."

He has found the barware is particularly popular with drinkers of expensive liqueurs. They don't want real ice to melt and water down their beverage. "In your high-end liqueurs, it's nice to complete a drink that has no dilution," Thompson explains.

Thompson claims soapstone does not absorb flavors from liquid, so you can use his ice cubes in different drinks without worrying about mixing tastes.

The ice cubes are just a small part of the business. Stoves and countertops are still king. But the "Made in Vermont" ice cubes are certainly a conversation starter and add new meaning to the phrase "I'll have mine on the rocks."

The non-melting ice cubes cost $10 dollars for a pack of six. The Vermont Marble, Granite, Slate and Soapstone Company imports its soapstone for finishing in Vermont, but its marble comes from mines and quarries in the state, mainly from Danby.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News - Made in Vermont

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