The day after I received my jade green Stanley Quencher, I decided to test it out on a trip to the local hot springs in Colorado with my dad and my partner. They had laughed when it arrived in the mail the day prior—the enormous bottle is as tall as my forearm, with a handle and a reusable straw that sticks out from a screw-on lid. But what they didn’t know is that this big bottle is much more than a drinking vessel. It’s a viral sensation.
Once at the hot springs, we spotted the bottles everywhere. An older woman sipped from a pink one, its bright hue visible from across the way. A fit-looking mom toted a similar shade to mine. There was an abandoned one by the kids’ pool. To be fair, the Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler is easy to spot. The top of the tumbler is probably twice as wide as the mouth of a typical pint glass (the bottom is tapered to fit into a cupholder). It’s capacious enough to hold 40 oz. of water (though there are also 30- and 20-oz. sizes) and comes in a range of trendy shades, like rose quartz, tigerlilly and fog. And this vibrant vessel is not just popular at the soaking pools I frequent. This specific Stanley tumbler has gone viral on TikTok in the last couple years—right now, a hashtag dedicated to the cup has nearly 82 million views. It’s also a prominent fixture on Instagram and college campuses, among other places you might look for your hydration trends.
Did I just write hydration trends? I guess I did. But it’s true: Water—both the substance itself and the way we carry it—is surging in popularity. The global reusable water bottle market was valued at nearly $9 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $12.6 billion by 2030.
Turns out, water is shockingly chic. In 2022, Stanley, the 110-year-old heritage thermos brand historically recognized for its hammertone green hue and camping products, suddenly became known for its bright-colored tumbler. That’s thanks in part to demand three women created after featuring it on their e-commerce blog, The Buy Guide. The bloggers partnered with Stanley in late 2020, purchasing 10,000 tumblers from the thermos brand to sell on their site. They sold out within days. The women knew they could market it to other women, so they persuaded Stanley to prioritize the product while The Buy Guide continued to promote it on its website. That’s when Stanley began debuting more colors—granite, shale and abyss followed by cream and desert sage. Right now, customers can choose among 15 different Quencher shades.
“We wanted to stay green, male and hot but also become more colorful, female and cold,” Stanley global president Terence Reilly told NPR’s Marketplace podcast in February.
And honestly, it’s working. Quencher sales went up 275% in 2022. So how does a particular water bottle, a basic conveyance for getting a necessary liquid to your system and an arguably expensive one at $45 for the 40-oz., become part of the zeitgeist? And, perhaps more importantly, is it worth the hype?
The Quencher’s Popularity
The 40-oz. Quencher, filled to the brim, holds a lot of water—enough to meet more than half of the daily hydration requirement for women and about 40% of the requirement for men set by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. That means people on the go need only fill this vessel twice a day. Another loved feature is the bottle’s tapered construction, which allows it to fit easily into most cupholders. And like many other Stanley vessels, the stainless steel double-wall vacuum insulation (which founder William Stanley invented more than a century ago) keeps your drink cold for hours—up to 11 for the Quencher. It will take ice in the cup two days to melt (which would make for a very long TikTok video).
The Stanley Quencher H2.0 FlowState Tumbler’s other claim to fame is its multi-directional lid and straw, which let you sip while holding it in either hand without removing the lid. (Just rotate the lid to one of three positions).
Still, there’s probably a deeper reason why millions of people might covet a certain water bottle. It’s not just about having a really big cup—it’s a nod to how the cup holder might be perceived.
“A Stanley at your study station shows you’re stylish, sleek, hydrated and productive — the kind of person who’s doing it all and doing it flawlessly,” the University of Miami student newspaper reported.
This idea—that your choice of water bottle says a lot about who you are—isn’t unlike the days when I carefully chose the stickers that graced my college Nalgene bottle [redacted] years ago. In short: I am guilty of having tried to outwardly brand myself through my drinking receptacle. I get it.
So, do I think anyone needs a fleet of $30 to $45 water bottles? No. Do I think buying a new reusable bottle when you have plenty at home is sustainable? I do not. But if you happen to need a new big one, a Stanley Quencher is a solid choice.
My personal take: I like to drink a lot of water, and I like when that water stays at the temperature I want. The Quencher delivers this. Plus, it’s easy to carry and sip. I can neither confirm nor deny that you can also put a full-size McDonald’s soda or a very large cocktail in the cup, but I am not a Tik
What I can confirm is that at the end of my hot springs soak, there was still water in my Quencher, it was still cold, and my dad had to beg some sips off me when his water bottle ran dry.