A brief history of Kooji, America's favorite beer friend

Thinking about koozies, is there any real science behind them?

For many people, the start of the dog days of summer means it's wedding season. It's that time of year when we enjoy open bars and cringe at the thought of taffeta. Some say it's just beach weather when swimming in the ocean with Corona in hand is your top priority. For homeowners, summer means focusing on outdoor lawn care and maintenance, and finishing it off by relaxing in a hammock with a cold beer.

What do all these summer versions have in common? They all signal prime-time coozie season.

Koozies (also known as Beer Cozies, Beer Jackets, and Drink Huggies) are everyone's surefire way to keep beer, soda, and (let's be honest) cold while sipping more beer under the sun. is. —It's like a summer lifeline.

Name aside, the history of the koozie is as soft and flexible as the product itself. Many claim that the Beta was first introduced in Australia in the mid-1970s, where it became known as a “stubby holder” and was quickly adopted by surfers.

Others trace its inspiration even further back to the centuries-old British custom of knitting tea cozys to keep pots of Earl Gray piping hot (and invitingly piquant) all afternoon. . In many ways, a koozie acts as a reverse version of a tea cozy. While Koji is adorable, Kooji is unapologetically flashy. While a cozy keeps heat in, a koozi blocks out warmth.

…While the product's novelty and functionality appealed to drinkers, its status as a miniature billboard allowed auto dealers to use … thousands of people as human advertising. .

Koozies didn't become famous in America until the 1980s, when people loved synthetic materials and were happy with the brand. The first version (known as the “Insulated Drink Cozy”) was patented by Idahoan Bonnie McGaw in 1981 when he was specifically designed for use in “cold beverage utensils such as 12-ounce beverage cans.” I did.

Roughly parallel to that, San Antonio-based Radio Cap Corporation began mass producing its version of koozies for appreciative Texans. RCC's rudimentary, slightly too rigid design was a suitably clunky grandfather to today's flimsy variety flexibility. While the product's novelty and functionality appealed to drinkers, even if it was unwieldy, its status as a miniature billboard helped car dealers and funeral homes alike attract thousands of people to use it as a human advertisement. I was able to use it.

Kooji Mania was born.

A major design change for koozies came in the early 1990s, when most producers switched from sturdy cylindrical hard foam shells to compressible neoprene and other (less difficult) soft foam materials. Companies have tried experimenting with koozies made of everything from cowhide to crochet, but most drinkers would agree that only the endless varieties of bubbles truly express the spirit of koozies. .

The construction of drink chillers may be variable, but the name “Koozie” remains the same and, oddly enough, remains synonymous with a decades-long trademark battle. A legal battle over the proper use of the Koozie name has been ongoing between Norwood (which acquired RCC in 1989) and Online Koozie Hub over the past two decades, ever since Radio Cap Corporation let its trademark for the name expire in 2001. It got even more intense. Custom Koozies.

In a 2009 decision on the issue, the Indiana District Court noted that “trademark litigation…often emerges from pedestrian disputes, and this case is no different.” “What do you call that spongy thing that you wrap around cans and bottles to keep your drinks cold? Some people call them “koozies.'' Both parties to this lawsuit are the same, and as a result, they are not strangers to each other or to the lawsuit. ” Now, the all-caps (some would say authentic) version of Cousy's name is officially owned by his Bic, a pen and lighter manufacturer.

Outside of the courtroom, the koozie is one of the few drinks specifically for daytime drinking. It occupies a high place among frat boy-approved accessories, somewhere between the plastic sunglasses of a jam band concert and the theme party shirt cut out with a buddy-friendly tank top.

Koozie has the ability to squeeze the razor-edge between the completely ubiquitous and the deeply personal. On the other hand, there's a certain nostalgic element inherently connected to the koozie, as if the memories themselves were absorbed into the sticky condensation of a portable cup holder. Stuffed deep in junk drawers across America are nests of souvenir koozies whose owners will forever remember Lollapalooza 2009 or a particularly raucous wedding in Topeka.

In 2013, a brilliant team of dedicated scientists at the University of Washington set out to find out whether koozies actually work or if they're just craving drinking.

…Koozie works scientifically to slow down the heating of canned beverages, primarily by preventing condensation from forming on the outside of the can.

After starting on a whim (I can't write an article… if the data is coming from the setup… [in] “It was in one of the author's bathrooms,” noted Dale Duran, professor of atmospheric science and project leader.)The project took off, winning funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. did.

Scientists who delved into the properties of latent heat concluded that ( physics today) Koozies work scientifically to slow down the heating of canned beverages, primarily by preventing condensation from forming on the outside of the can. (Another fun fact: The place in the world where drinks warm up the fastest is in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.)

With both cold, hard-hitting scientific fact and nostalgia firmly on the side, there's something about Koozie that feels distinctly American. Mr. Koozie will likely enter today's Republican primary (#Koozie16), overtaking Bobby Jindal and Rand Paul in the polls, and possibly handing Mr. Trump a victory.

But it's not some novelty titanium steel or dastardly NASA-designed toy that will appeal to Americans. No, it's the general appeal of the porous and ever-loyal Foam variety, which can potentially rise from product to politics in a few easy moves.

Either way, Coogee has my vote.

Coozie Photo: Shutterstock/Danny E Hooks

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