Why Is Everyone Losing It Over Stanley Cups? The Hype Explained

How did Stanley Cups join the ranks of Supreme box logos, Playstation 5s, and Air Jordans? Here’s the hype behind Stanley Cups explained.


Yes, Stanley cups, those gigantic metal tumblers, are quickly becoming the most hyped accessory to own in 2024. 

Recently, videos showing dozens of shoppers mobbing Targets to buy Stanleys have gone viral on social media. On Jan. 3, the hype reached new heights with the release of another collaboration between Stanley and Starbucks. 

The limited-edition Stanleys, which came in pink, were exclusively sold at Target for $45 and garnered early-morning lines at stores across America. One viral video shows a Stanley fan attempting to shoplift them before getting tackled and beaten by other customers who waited in line for hours. The cups sold out quickly and are now being resold for as much as $200 on StockX and eBay

So why are Stanley cups being treated like Supreme box logos, PlayStation 5s, and Air Jordans right now? Here’s the hype behind Stanley, explained. 

What Are Stanleys?

Stanley cups, not to be confused with the National Hockey League trophy, are reusable tumblers that are well-received for their insulating properties. While plastic Nalgene bottles have always been a hydration staple for plenty of people, Stanley is known for crafting all-steel vacuum bottles that keep drinks both hot and cold for hours, which reusable plastic bottles can’t do. Ever since William Stanley Jr. patented the first design for an all-steel vacuum bottle in 1913, Stanley has developed a reputation for producing them for over a century. World War II pilots carried Stanleys onto warplanes. For decades, Stanleys were associated with blue-collar workers and outdoor enthusiasts. That was at least until Gen Z and TikTok influencers grabbed hold of them.

How Did Stanleys Become Popular?

The fervor we’re currently seeing for Stanleys did not occur overnight. It’s also focused on a specific Stanley tumbler line called Quenchers, which looks like a metal 7-Eleven Big Gulp. Stanley introduced Quenchers in 2016. It comes in sizes ranging from 14–64 fluid ounces, includes a reusable straw, typically boasts handles on the side, and costs $20–$60. According to CNBC, Stanley Quenchers were not hyped when they first hit the market. Sales were so average that Stanley eventually stopped restocking and promoting the product in 2019. 

But the Quencher’s fate changed when Stanley recognized that Quenchers were a popular item promoted on The Buy Guide, an e-commerce blog and Instagram page centered on women. Instead of restocking Quenchers on its own webstore in 2019, Stanley tested a different market by seeing what would happen if The Buy Guide placed a wholesale order to sell 10,000 Quenchers directly to its followers. According to Retail Dive, The Buy Guide sold 5,000 cups within four days. When it restocked the next 5,000, they sold all of them within an hour. It has since led Stanley to not only sell the cups on its own webstore again in 2020 but to continue working with The Buy Guide and other influencers within the women’s lifestyle space. Since then, Stanleys have become a ubiquitous water bottle on TikTok that’s typically co-signed by young women.

What’s So Special About The Stanleys Sold at Target?

Are Resellers Really Flipping Stanleys on StockX?

Ain't no way they're selling Stanley cups on StockX now 💀 pic.twitter.com/8LBUNLRhoH

— Complex Sneakers (@ComplexSneakers) January 3, 2024
Twitter: @ComplexSneakers
While resale values have tanked for Supreme drops and new Air Jordan releases, Stanleys have proven to be a somewhat decent investment for resellers. As of now, 11 out of 17 Stanley products listed on StockX are its ever-popular Quenchers. The average resale price for Quenchers listed is $98. But the most popular Quenchers styles have resold for an average resale price of $138–$222—which is a great flip since Quenchers usually retail for $40-$50. These popular Stanley collaborations with Starbucks and Lainey Wilson have even resold for more money on StockX than co-branded Stanley releases made with Supreme or Human Made—note that these Stanley collaborations were not centered on the trendy Quencher model.  A StockX representative also told Complex that it first added Stanley Quenchers to its catalog back in November—when the brand revealed one of its first limited-edition collabs with Starbucks. 

Like anything else that has garnered a lot of hype and resale value, the popularity of Stanleys has led to the creation of many off-brand knockoffs. What’s nuts is that there are even Stanley Quenchers replicas being sold on the market today. Stanley has addressed the proliferation of dupes on its own blog and has urged consumers to stick to the real thing instead.

Why Do People Collect Them?

Yes, there’s a “Stanley Cup Hunters” Facebook group that's grown to include over 29,000 members since launching in April 2022. Whether its Stanleys or Beanie Babies, society has always found unlikely products to collect and obsess over. On TikTok, you wouldn’t be hard pressed to find users flexing substantial Stanley Quencher collections—with some collectors even remembering all the names of the colors they’ve purchased. 

One reason why the cups are so collectible is because of artificial scarcity. Stanley President Terence Reilly told MSNBC that Stanley did “want a little bit of scarcity” to maintain the hype around Quenchers. “We really continue to increase the number of units available each time we drop, because we see the trend and the waiting lists that are growing,” he told MSNBC. “But there’s only so many seats in the stadium, and when the seats are sold out, they’re sold out.” In an interview with The Guardian that sought to explain the phenomenon behind collecting Stanleys, Reilly also told the paper that Stanley originally released Quenchers in only five colors but now releases limited-edition colors monthly to embrace collectors.

Rachel Makar, a senior merchandising director at StockX, sees the collecting frenzy around Stanley Cups as another example of a trend creating supply and demand that’s also growing with a scarcity model. 

“This is yet another example of a product that fits that bill for the current culture consumer. The broader cultural shift toward an obsession with hydration also doesn’t hurt—the hashtag #WaterTok has 975 million views on TikTok, and just last week The New York Times predicted premium hydration will be a major trend in 2024,” says Makar. “What we’re seeing play out on the platform is a bit of a perfect storm of the scarcity-fueled hype, the right brand partners, and a moment in time where hydration is top-of-mind.”

While it’s impossible to ascertain why anyone collects anything, only time will tell how many Stanley Cup collectors will be around once the hype dries up. But who knows, maybe we’ll see Stanley Quenchers released by Kith or Supreme in the near future.

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