The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2012

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Page 38 of 140

A LONE STAR LIFE A CLOSE LOOK AT YOUR TYPICAL TEXAS DRINKWARE What's on Your Bottle? by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle C onsider the coozie—an insulating sleeve for bottles and cans. Coozies keep hands from getting cold and covered in condensation. These inexpensive items help keep track of your beverage by distinguishing it from those naked bottles. Since beer companies, sports teams and other businesses commission coozies with their logos, they're powerful and effective marketing tools. Coozies come in all shapes and sizes, fitting around wine bottles, 40-ounce beer bottles, water bottles, pint glasses and ice buckets. They're made from polystyrene, neoprene, open-cell foam and polyester. I've seen coozies crafted out of leather, wool, nylon, reclaimed inner tubes and melted Rice Krispie treats. I've even seen them made from taxidermied animals. Most coozies are pliable, while some are fashioned out of aluminum or stainless steel (which is like wrapping one can around another). They come plain and bedazzled. Some zip up the front. Coozies can resemble sports jerseys and brown paper bags. High-tech coozies come with a remote: Lose your brew, push a button and an alarm alerts you to the can's location. Others come with magnetic strips for, I'm assuming, attaching them to your truck at tailgating parties. What's also amazing is how many names and spelling variations coozies are known by. Around the country they may be called cozies, beer jackets, coolies, cuzzis, beer sleeves, cush cups, coldy-holdys, huggies, can coolers, bottle wraps and—my personal favorite—candoms. 38 / the tasting panel / november 2012 The origin of the coozie is disputed, but most evidence points to Australia. Down Under, where they're called "stubby holders" (how silly is that?), Aussies have narrowed the inventor down to Alex Lang, John Lamers or Bob Howie. There are American possibilities, too, like Kevin Brown of Pasadena, Texas. Having created Tiddies brand soft-foam beach sandals in 1973, Brown supposedly used leftover foam for beverage insulators called "huggers." Bonnie McGough of Caldwell, Idaho, was the first owner of a U.S. patent (1981) for her "insulated beverage cozy." Back in San Antonio, Texas, Concept Enterprises trademarked the name "Koozie" in 1980; in 1982 San Antonio's Radio Cap Corporation began manufacturing stiff Styrofoam sleeves also called "Koozies" (which has become the most-recognized name, and is now trademarked by Norwood Promotional Products of Indianapolis). In 1987, Scott Henderson of Plano, Texas, patented the flexible coozie. In 2007, Kyle Jones of Glen Rose, Texas, patented expandable "Krazy Koozies," which fit different-sized bever- age containers. With that type of pedigree, it's no wonder Texans love coozies. They collect them and design their own. They travel with them, making coozies ubiquitous at every barbecue, beach and ball game. And weddings—although it's also not uncommon for coozies to be given as wedding favors. In short, to get a Texan to give up his coozie, you'll have to pry it from his warm, dry hand.

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