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History of the water bottle craze

Looking into the water bottle fads of the decades.
A picture of hydro flasks that started the popular VSCO girl trend.
PC: David Eickhoff
A picture of hydro flasks that started the popular VSCO girl trend. PC: David Eickhoff

As of late, everybody knows about the Stanley cup craze and the iconic TikTok videos that made Stanley Quenchers more popular. But throughout the years, multiple water bottle brands have blown up, including Nalgene, Yeti, and Hydroflask. 

Nalgene

Nalgene became popular in the 1970s, with a resurgence in 2015. The company was first founded by a Chemist named Emanuel Goldberg, who was also the first to develop pipette jars from plastic. Emmanuel named the company Nalgene after his wife Natalie Levey Goldberg. 

The company continued to refine the design. In the 1960’s, scientists did a hike in the Adirondack Mountains. The scientists took the Nalgene water bottles that had been manufactured in the lab.

In the 1970’s there was a saying called “pack it in pack it out,” which means what you bring on a hike should stay with you once the hike is over. This idea was created by park services to protect the environment. In this timeframe, it was a common practice done by hikers to burn or bury cans or plastic water bottles to dispose of them. 

Because of Nalgene, reusable bottles became popular.

The CEO of the company, Marsh Hyman, began to advertise his bottles as high-quality camping essentials after his son used the plastic bottles on his boy scout trips.

Hydro Flasks 

Hydro Flasks became popular in the middle of 2019 and early 2020s. They became popular because they were environmentally friendly and didn’t include BPA. 

Travis Rosbach, the creator of the Hydro Flask, created it because he hated that his GSI bottle was too big to fit in his freezer. Rosbach’s GSI bottle also had a narrow entrance to put in ice cubes and after his surfing session, the water bottle was too hot, according to Los Angeles Times. He and his girlfriend, Cindy Weber, came up with the Hydro Flask in 2008.

They moved to Bend, Oregon where the water bottle had massive success. A batch of them became rusty due to no insulation, but they continued to make more Hydroflasks despite this drawback due to high demand.

After getting their water bottles into stores, it helped increase the flow of money but caused the couple to break up. They ultimately sold the company to investors in Bend because Rosbach didn’t enjoy how much he was working and didn’t get a lot of sleep. 

In 2012, Scott Allan became the president and chief executive of the Hydro Flask company, now selling water bottles in Europe, and came up with a new item idea that was the backpack-friendly water bottle. This allowed for the company to get more widespread on social media and have promotions with celebrities.

A company based in Texas called Helen of Troy bought the Hydro Flask company for $210 million. In 2015, sales increased by 42% to $318 million. The NPD group found that Hydro Flask was the most profitable brand out of all the water bottle brands. 

VSCO girls started popping up in 2019, but who are they? VSCO girls are based on a VSCO photo editing app that they use for their Instagram photos. The VSCO girls went for the beach-like look and the vibe of a California girl. VSCO girls wear Vans or Crocs for shoes, cowrie shell necklaces, Kanken backpacks, scrunchies, and carry a Hydro Flask water bottle decorated in stickers. They also shop at eco-friendly stores. This struck trends on Tik Tok and Twitter which lead to an increase in sales for eco-friendly water bottle companies.

Yeti

Yeti mugs became popular in the 2010s. It was founded in 2006 by two brothers: Roy and Ryan Seiders, whose goal was to make products that could stay cool for long periods and could withstand outdoor activity. 

The company continued to expand after this massive success and decided to make drinkware.. Their popularity grew because a lot of outdoor enthusiasts spread the word about how pleased they were with Yeti and how impressed they were with the durability of the water bottle.

Yeti continued to gain more attention from social media with celebrities and influencers.  

Yeti’s popularity is noticed in its gradual sales from 2017, they had a $639.2 million to a 139.6 million dollar increase the next year. They continue to have success. Just last year, in 2023, they got $1.6 billion of revenue.

Stanley

In 2016, the Stanley Quenchers were released by the Stanley company, which used to focus on marketing to blue-collar workers in 1923. They made bottles and lunch pails that were designed to keep food insulated, hot or cold. They made good money by targeting this audience and made at least $70 million a year. 

Stanley became more popular because they started to cater to women in 2020. Stanley Quencher didn’t sell too well in competition with their original design

In 2020, Terence Reilly became the new CEO of the company, formerly the CEO of Crocs. Reilly’s employees brought attention to the group of women in Utah that advertised the Stanley Quenchers on their blog to their female audience. 

Due to the Stanley Quenchers being a massive hit, Stanley created new pastel colors and had Buy Guide as a partner. This caused the Stanley company to fully replace their old water bottles with the new Stanley Quenchers. In 2020, they gained $94 million and in the years following continued to have a massive increase in revenue.

A TikTok video made by Danielle helped Stanley Quencher become more popular, with a video of her Stanley Quencher being able to survive a car fire without melting the ice in it. After her car was burnt and was no longer usable, Stanley offered to get the TikTok creator a new car and some new Stanleys to compensate for her loss. This positive interaction led to people having good faith in Stanleys.

Stanley had another win when they collaborated with Starbucks, boosting sales for the company and getting people crazy for them.  Companies try to limit how many each person can buy, but stores like Starbucks and Target that sold the Quenchers sold out fast. On eBay, they can sell for $280 to $500. The prices on these Stanley Quenchers will vary as many of the sellers believe that they might get someone who lacks self control.

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About the Contributor
Jocelyn Hughes, Staff Writer
Jocelyn Hughes is a student who is in their last years as a student at Oakmont and this is their first year doing Advanced Journalism. They typically enjoy writing articles that allow freedom for opinions, like writing about art, and they would be more interested in trying photography and graphic design this year. They like to be with their family and like to go outside and explore the world, like going on hikes and seeing the beauty of nature.

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