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The quintessential accessory, the stubby holder has made it's way into all our hearts, kitchens, bars, pool rooms and mancaves. It has become a major accompaniment we cannot live without! In fact, you could say it's as Australian as Vegemite, throwing a prawn on the Barbie, or having a cuppa!
The stubby holder may just look like a simple idea but realistically it's handy, transportable, offers protection to the beverage, (drop a glass bottle on tiles and you'll understand that selling point!), keeps our hands from freezing and keeps our drinks cool all at once! Mainly used for drinks in a bottle or can, the simplicity of the stubby holder allows it to be used to wrap and thermally cushion more than just a cold beer! A stubby holder can be utilised on a wide range of liquid vessels.
All of these reasons are why us Aussies have a solid love for the stubby holder.
A Stubby holder fanatic will be able to recount the story of the stubby holder origins. (I think I now fall into that category researching this blog!) The modest idea of cooling a drink originated from the United States in the 1980's. Initially the design was polystyrene foam - the concept was great but the execution lacked. They were bulky and not overly helpful in actually keeping drinks cold. The original design was meant to protect a drink from exterior heat sources, such as sun and warm air. Over time other materials were experimented with, such as EVA, leather and others.
A little down the track an American company rose to the occasion and refined the design to what you see today. A drink cooler made from neoprene. Most people think of a wet suit when you say neoprene. Neoprene is waterproof and stretchable and also has the benefit of being chemical resistant. This design was then brought back to Australia. Over the years the basic black design that was bought back has undergone various revamps. Now we have access to a wide assortment of designs and colours to suit the shapes of the drinks widely available in Australia. We Aussies call these ingenious products stubby coolers as they fit a 375ml beer bottle perfectly. We call a 375ml bottle of beer a stubby because they are shorter and fatter than export beers. You can see where this is headed.... Outside Australia stubby coolers are referred to as coolers, can coolers, can hugger, coolie, beer sleeve, cold coolie cup and in the States they are referred to as koozies. I believe Koozies is a brand name.
What a stubby cooler actually does for you (and your drink)
The main objective of a stubby cooler is to keep your liquid refreshment cool and invigorating, regardless of the atmospheric conditions. This is especially important in those summer months. You might be wondering how a stubby cooler manages to keep your drink nice and cold in spite of the heat outside. Neoprene. Neoprene uses the principles of convection and conduction to prevent evaporative cooling. (Think wetsuit!) Put a cold can or bottle of drink along side a cold can or bottle of drink in a neoprene stubby cooler you'll be able to see the difference right away. (Condensation). The drink in the stubby cooler has obstructed the condensation from gathering on the outside surface. The process in the formation of these droplets will generate heat at higher temperatures than the air immediately encompassing your drink. Every drop of condensation that forms on your drink will add heat into the can or bottle. This is a process that is called latent heat or condensational warming. When the bottle or can becomes coated with condensation, the energy from the water droplets will transfer to the liquid inside of the bottle or can via conduction. Some studies actually show it can raise the temperature on a beer to the point that it no longer tastes like the originally beer.
In laymen's terms - condensation on the outside of your drink heats your drink up.
The stubby holder today
For us Aussies, the humble stubby holder embodies the Aussie laid back lifestyle - summer, parties, sun, socializing and shenanigans. Almost everyone who partakes in a drop or two owns at least one stubby holder. These remind us of good times we've had or are making presently while using them. They are also an easy way of identifying your own drink in a crowed room. In this day and age stubby holders have surpassed the sole use of keeping a drink refreshingly cold. A stubby cooler is a popular gift choice for a multitude of reasons: birthdays, Christmas gifts, milestones, bucks and hens nights, weddings, commemorative gifts on travels, team building, showing you belong to/support a specific team or club, and other special occasions and memorable events. Stubby holders are now also used as promotional products by many business. It's also possible to purchase stubby holders
that have radios, torches and other gadgets to help with your good time!
And lastly, a bit of stubby care
Stubby coolers are pretty easy to care for and while last quite a while if looked after properly. While they are not suitable for the dishwasher, they are easily cleaned with warm soapy water and a little bit of elbow grease. An overnight soaking in washing powder or stain remover will remove any harder stains (The same applies for a koozie).
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