What Even is a Koozie?

Koozies are of the innocuous yet important symbols of the drinking sport. It’s one of those inventions that sits there in the background of humanity, but isn’t really questioned. But where did the koozie come from?  What even is a koozie?

The koozie started out in the late 1970’s, in Australia.  Here it was known as the “stubby holder”, which as far as colloquial terminology goes is pretty great. But, the name “cozy” stretches back to 19th century Britain where it meant to keep things insulated and warm.

Cozy, then, was eventually co-opted in the early 80’s in a patent by a Bonnie McGough of Idaho where she describes an invention very similar to Australia’s stubby holder which kept drinks nice and cool.

The cozy, however, just didn’t quite have the visceral name appeal that the stubby holder had while the cozy also didn’t lend itself to easy branding like the Australia’s did either. Thus a quick shift in name occurred, adding a “k” instead of a “c” to cozy was likely a matter of keeping the name more fun, like the stubby holder, without the connotations that stubby has here in the U.S.

The choice between the “koozie” over “cozy” also came from the fact that the koozie was a much simpler design, consisting of hollowed out foam verus the cozy which had two foam walls and a pocket for goose down insulation . The brand appeal that eventually caught on with the koozie, where literally any company could cheaply get bulk custom koozies with their business name and logo on it from revolutionary print shops like ExpressImprint.com, which made buying customized koozies in anyone’s reach.

So, really, the koozie was a simple idea that became so ubiquitous with cold drinks around the world, not because of a necessity, but because of its ability to advertise so efficiently. When sipping on whatever cold libation you desire, looking down and associating your pleasant mood with the company branded on the koozie is the ultimate in feet on the ground advertising.

`Miss McGough of Idaho really did have a great idea with her patent, though its design was a bit complicated for the marketing teams of the world. It, however, is an interesting look at how a simple concept, such as the now ubiquitous koozie, can engrain itself socially and quickly if the free market has deemed it useful in some way. There was nothing wrong with McGough’s cozy. It just didn’t suit the needs of corporations like the koozie did.

In the case of the koozie, the usurper of the cozy, it may not be that people everywhere suddenly found themselves with too many slippery condensation covered cold drinks one day, but that businesses found a cheap marketing tool that everyone enjoyed and saturated the globe with them to the point we’re at now where koozies are available branded with anything from funeral homes to barber shops to the U.S. military.

Still, many take pride in their favorite koozie and there’s nothing wrong with that. The koozie has a short track record in human society, but so far it’s simple and clean. Cheers to the koozie’s around the world, letting us know what our favorite radio station is and keeping our drinks cool since the late 20th century.