‘I was reluctant to torch my car in the name of journalism’. Alix Norman discovers the Stanley flask for sale on the island, and viciously tests it against Cyprus’ cats, heat and an ageing bladder

‘Did you buy that or did you win it?’ laughed my editor.

‘You could christen a baby in it,” smirked the receptionist.

But by far the most damning comment came from the Mail’s work placement, a teenage would-be reporter, who suggested it was ‘so cute that you’re keeping up with the trends!’

I’m speaking, of course, of the Stanley Cup: the Stanley Quencher H2.0 Flowstate Tumbler 1.2 litres to be exact.

To say this has taken the world (or at least, certain lululemon-wearing sections of the world) by storm would be an understatement: you’ll rarely see a Tiktok influencer without one – or several; often colour-matched to their outfit.

But first, let’s back up a little and look at exactly what the Stanley flask is. Just in case, you know, you really haven’t heard of the fad that’s driving the kids/colleagues/wannabe-influencers crazy…

Around for 111 years now, this insulated flask was originally a favourite with WWII aviators and the blue-collar brigade, the (almost) original thermos.

Then, circa 2020, a new CEO joined the company. A brand whisperer, Terence Reilly is the man who took Crocs from cringe to cool. In the last four years, he’s done the same for Stanley: releasing the flasks in a new colour scheme (baby pinks, pastel blues, sage greens) and conducting an organic social media campaign that’s made the Flowstate the must-have of the moment.

Almost overnight, Stanley’s revenue shot from $73 million to $750 million! Proof that we’ll buy anything if it’s pretty. And yet, basically, there’s been no change to the original technology: although the flask is now marketed in appealing hues and varying sizes, it continues to do exactly what it says on the tin – keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.

Of course there are a couple of other exciting claims, especially as regards the Quencher.

the stanley cup that survived the car fire

The Stanley cup that survived the car fire

One, it’s designed with a slimmer base. So, unlike your average bottle of Ayios Nicholaos, it fits in your car cupholders. And though it’s not the easiest thing to manage when driving (rather like trying to lift a struggling baby with one hand on the wheel), the built-in straw does help.

Two, it’s alleged to be practically indestructible – a claim that was bolstered by the viral video in which a pristine Stanley Quencher was pulled from a car fire unscathed, ice cubes unmelted! (Which does make me wonder why we aren’t actually making vehicles from whatever materials Stanley use.)

Other than that, there’s not a lot to say. Except, somehow, the entire world now wants one. Including yours truly who, swayed by too many Tiktoks, decided life would be a great deal more complete if only she had a Stanley of her very own!

I’m not sure it’s the smartest decision I’ve ever made. I already have a perfectly serviceable water bottle I picked up at AlphaMega last year for a fraction of the price. I really didn’t need another – especially at this cost…

A 1.2 litre Thirst Quencher will set you back nearly 50 euros – €49.95 if you buy yours from Cyprus’ importers Apostolos Papadopoulos. Probably more if you head out to other outlets.

That’s a lot of money for something that won’t make my life measurably easier, increasingly comfortable, or (according to our in-house teenager) more cool!

Then there’s the size. This thing is so large, it comes with a handle – not something you see on most flasks. And it needs it: I’m no weakling, but full, the Quencher weighs approximately the same as my pre-lockdown grocery shop!

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. The internet tells me it weighs 635 grammes when empty. I can’t tell you what it weighs when full, because it broke my kitchen scales. And it’s now in the process of breaking my arm – carrying a full flask turns my 50-metre walk from car to office into a slow shuffle.

Of course I have discovered that the more I drink, the lighter it gets. Which is great for hydration, but terrible for my work flow. My bladder is no longer what it once was; and every half hour I begin what’s now known in the office as ‘Alix’s Little Stanley Dance’ as I try to make it to the loo in time!

Bathroom bopping aside, I have put the flask through its paces in other ways…

this is not usage rights' free but it is from an obscure website called the pioneer woman

You’ll understand I was reluctant to torch my car in the name of journalism. But I did investigate the flask’s durability by way of introducing it to my fairly ferocious feline. (Result: Flask 1, Cat 0. No scratches or marks incurred.)

Next, I looked at temperature regulation. Stanley claims its Quenchers maintain heat for seven hours, cold for 11 hours, and iced drinks iced for two days.

I filled the flask with hot tea and left it in the fridge for two hours (lukewarm but still drinkable). And then, on a day when my garden thermometer hovered around 30 in direct sunlight all day, I tried it with iced water…

After five hours, the water was infinitesimally warmer. But (and this was staggering!) the ice cubes remained till sundown and beyond. At which point I got bored of the scientific method and drank the lot.

I can definitely see how the Quencher might be a game changer in the Cyprus summer. Not just overnight, when iced water from a bedside flask is certainly preferable to a long trip down to the fridge. But how great is it going to be to have cold water wherever I go: on the beach, in the office, and – even if I become the victim of automotive arson – in my car?

Joking aside, I’m glad I bought my Stanley. Call it what you will (early mid-life crisis, a bladder workout) it’s kind of fun. It makes me feel part of something bigger: one of the cadre of cup cognoscenti. Our logo would undoubtedly depict just one, extremely muscular arm. And the tagline would be ‘I too bought the hype!’.