I Remember My First Beer, Kozy
It came from the ’80s, a black, two-tone Polar Pal with a neon green rubber base that matched to the stylized type of its message: “Beer … It’s not just for breakfast anymore.” A single, clever gem of a can cooler discovered amidst a greater collection of flat-busted ones, of much less savvy sayings.
Called into service some time soon thereafter on a camping and fishing trip in California, and if I can remember correctly, the first it offered my underage self was an Olympia. (And in direct effect to the message, I may have enjoyed it for lunch.) The novelty, the hand-feel, the functionality, the subtle humor and, as I’ve later learned, the collector community around such functional and conversational kitsch is something else. Unknowingly then, I’d purchased a lifetime membership into a club of sorts, based on keeping cold beer colder longer and classy.
Flash-forward to 2007, and never knowing when or how inspiration will hit you, it became pretty obvious, right in my hand one fine afternoon in LA, where to put our entrepreneurial energies. Sometimes genius is in the simplicity. (I often suggestively reference what Shaun Neff started and since accomplished with $1 beanies.)
Through design and copy, brand and product positioning, we’d endeavor to elevate an otherwise promotional throwaway to a much more aspirational level — think: sneaker culture for a can. Ideation began and passively continued for four years. I mean kicking back with a beer in your hand, how motivated are you to do anything ambitious. And now here we are, though not quite just like that. (FYI, on the West Coast, they're called “cozys”, alternately spelled “cozies”.)
In 2013, we’d launch our first seasonal collection through Urban Outfitters, produced a collaboration with Miller Lite on the reissue of their heritage can (though for some reason couldn’t openly hype it), and experienced many other sales and marketing milestones to date for our own. We’ve dealt with some corporate bullying bullshit in the threat of litigation against our (formerly and) officially granted trademark registration of SUPERKOZY; forced to change our name for limited available finances and effective interest to fight it. See, we knew the opportunity is greater than a name.
Today, like last Friday actually, when we’re asked about sustainability practice … we joke, funny story: you could say our product has a “half-life!” But seriously, we’re actively (again) looking into materials / suppliers of that.
And this half-life reference, so you know, ties all the way back that original beer can coolie (pictured with this post), relatively and recently retired. It was 30 years old, saw several spot applications of Shoe GOO®, and kept loyal until the day we placed it on an honorary shelf. One and done.
Do you remember your first?