15 June, 2023
The History of Stubby Holders: From Cold Beer to Marketing Tool
Stubby holders, also known as koozies, can holders, or beer sleeves, have become a common sight at outdoor events, BBQs, and sporting events. But what many people don't realise is that they have a fascinating history that dates back several decades. From their humble beginnings as a way to keep drinks cold at sporting events to their status as a popular marketing tool, stubby holders have come a long way.
The origins of stubby holders can be traced back to the 1950s and 1960s when beer manufacturers began distributing them as promotional items at sporting events. In Australia, the invention of stubby holders is attributed to a man named Alex Benjamin. In 1974, Benjamin, who was a publican in a hotel in New South Wales, became concerned about the issue of cold beer being warmed by the hands of patrons. He decided to do something about it, and after much experimentation, he came up with the concept of the stubby holder.
Benjamin's invention was a simple, yet effective design that could hold a beer bottle or can, and keep it cool for longer. The stubby holder was made from neoprene, a type of synthetic rubber known for its insulating properties. The design featured a cylinder shape with an open bottom to slide the beer can or bottle in and a closed top to hold in the cold.
The popularity of the stubby holder grew quickly, and it soon became a common sight in Australian pubs and homes. Today, stubby holders are used not only to keep beer cold but also to promote brands, events, and causes. Thanks to Benjamin's innovation, Australians can enjoy a cold beer without worrying about their hands warming it up.
Over time, stubby holders evolved from a simple practical item to a must-have accessory for beer drinkers. As they gained popularity, beer manufacturers started using them as a marketing tool, adding branding and logos to promote their products. Soon, stubby holders became more than just a way to keep drinks cold; they became a status symbol, with people collecting them as souvenirs or displaying them in their homes.
The popularity of stubby holders has spread around the world, with different countries developing their own unique designs and materials. In the United States, a man named Bonnie McGough is credited with inventing the stubby holder in 1982.
According to reports, McGough came up with the idea for the stubby holder while on a camping trip with his family. He noticed that his beer can was getting warm in the sun and was uncomfortable to hold. To solve the problem, he wrapped the can in foam rubber from a camping mat, keeping the beer cool and his hands dry.
McGough later refined the design by creating a more durable version made from neoprene, a synthetic rubber commonly used for wetsuits. He patented the design in 1984 and started a company called Kolder, Inc. to produce and sell the product.
While other similar products were on the market at the time, McGough's design quickly gained popularity due to its durability and effectiveness. Today, stubby holders can be found in a variety of materials and designs, but Bonnie McGough is credited with inventing the product that started it all in the United States.
In Europe the origin of stubby holders is not as clear cut as it is in Australia and the United States. It is difficult to determine who exactly invented the stubby holder, as several European countries have their own claims to its invention.
One story suggests that a French company, Dometic, invented the stubby holder in the 1970s. They created a portable cooler to keep drinks cold, which became known as the 'Can Cooler'. It was a cylindrical shape made of foam, with a hole cut out for the drink can. Another story suggests that the stubby holder was invented in Italy in the 1980s and was called the 'Koozie'.
Despite these claims, it is widely accepted that the stubby holder's popularity in Europe began in the early 1990s when they were used as promotional items for companies. They quickly became a popular giveaway at trade shows and events, and their practicality and affordability made them a favorite among businesses.
Today, stubby holders are popular throughout Europe, with many different designs, shapes, and materials available. They continue to be used as promotional items for businesses, as well as being a popular souvenir for tourists.
It is unclear who exactly brought stubby holders to Japan or when they first became popular there, but they are often used in conjunction with the country's love of beer. In fact, Japan is one of the largest consumers of beer in the world, and many bars and restaurants offer their customers personalised stubby holders to use while enjoying their drinks.
In recent years, Japanese manufacturers have also begun producing their own versions of stubby holders, with unique designs and materials. Some are made of traditional Japanese fabrics, while others feature popular anime characters or famous landmarks. These Japanese stubby holders have become popular souvenirs for tourists and a way for locals to show off their love for their country.
In addition to their popularity with beer drinkers, stubby holders have also become a popular marketing tool for businesses. Companies use them as a way to promote their products or services, with their logos or slogans printed on the holders. This has become a popular way for businesses to create brand awareness and reach a wider audience. In some cases, businesses have even created their own custom designs, making their stubby holders collectible items.
The design of stubby holders has also evolved over time, with companies experimenting with different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some are designed to fit specific types of bottles or cans, while others are more universal in their fit. The materials used to make them have also changed, with newer materials such as silicone and metal becoming more common.
In conclusion, the history of stubby holders is fascinating, with their origins as a practical item evolving into a popular marketing tool. From their humble beginnings to their status as a must-have accessory for beer drinkers, stubby holders have come a long way. Their popularity has spread around the world, with different countries developing their own unique designs and materials. Whether you use them to keep your drinks cold or as a way to promote your business, stubby holders have cemented their place in popular culture.
The Stubby Holders Team