Jan 17, 2024 - News

The Utah roots behind the Stanley cup craze

Stanley starbucks mug

A limited-edition, pink Starbucks x Stanley quencher has been selling out at Starbucks locations in Target stores. Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks

Stanley cup mania has reached a fever pitch in recent weeks — nothing new in Utah, but now we're getting credit for helping to spark the wildfire.

What's happening: Stanley cups — insulated mugs with narrow bases that fit into car cupholders — have become the craze of the season, with crowds camping outside stores to buy limited-edition, Starbucks-branded tumblers, known as "Quenchers."

Catch up quick: Stanley cups were designed in 1913 and introduced in their modern, 40-ounce version in 2016 — to limited sales.

  • Then, starting in 2017, they were featured on "The Buy Guide," a popular Utah-based shopping blog and Instagram account launched by three former BYU students.
  • In the past couple of years, the mugs became a signature momfluencer accessory — one that paired nicely with Utah's "dirty soda" craze.

The latest: Stanley — an under-the-radar company better known for camping thermoses — saw its revenue skyrocket from $73 million in 2019 to $750 million last year, CNBC reported in December.

Why we matter: As throngs of shoppers scramble for the cups, observers are starting to notice that Utah is at the cutting edge of the trend.

  • "It didn't take long before netizens began pointing to a connection between the popularity of the tumblers and Mormonism," London-based culture and entertainment website Screenshot reported last week. The tumblers hold a drink temperature for hours, making them as suited to Diet Coke as coffee, the website theorized.

Flashback: Utahns saw this coming back in 2022 as Stanley cups swept the Jell-O Belt, prompting parodies and riffs on our cultural stereotypes.

  • "The ubiquity of the Stanley is a testament to the marketing power of those Utah moms, many of them influencers, who are driving the Stanley craze," Deseret News columnist Meg Walter wrote. "Those same moms mocked in the reels and TikToks are building empires, moving markets and pushing products onto the pages of The New York Times."

The bottom line: The world may not have expected Utah to drive the year's biggest coffee trend.


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