The clang of bashing metal rings through the conference room. It’s a Tuesday morning in Seattle, and Stanley’s director of global product management swings a prototype insulated bottle against a metal growler.
He is making a point. Eric Shear, Stanley’s zealous product manager, set the growler (a competitor’s brand) and the matte-black Stanley “Master Series” bottle onto the table. The growler was mangled and deformed. The bottle didn’t have a scratch.
The demonstration was part of a sneak peek at the brand’s 2017 line – in short, Stanley is bulking up its summer bod with what it dubs the Master Series: heavier, burlier vacuum-insulated vessels.
Stanley Master Series
The upcoming line won’t ship until next year. It consists of a 1.4-quart vacuum-insulated bottle and cup; a 25-ounce bottle and cup; and an 18-ounce travel mug. Each is noticeably heavier than its Classic Series predecessor.
The 1.4 quart bottle tips the scales at an impressive 1,264 grams, or just a few ounces shy of 3 pounds. That’s 30 percent heavier than last year’s model. (The 25-ounce bottle, at 877 grams, is almost 50 percent heavier than the original version).
The heft comes from thicker steel. The Master Series uses 1mm-thick stainless on all products, while the thickest Classic Series uses 0.7mm. The extra 0.3mm may not sound like much, but it makes a difference in durability.
The Future Is Heavy
Fans of the century-old Stanley brand might wonder why the company, which has staked its name on lifetime guarantees on all its products, would emphasize even longer-lasting products.
According to Shear, the new product line is meant for professionals working in extreme conditions who need items that can take “unbelievable punishment.” The company’s promotional materials show the Master Series used by Wildland firefighters.
But Stanley is also responding to a growing industry trend – durability and substance. Whereas once market research suggested that consumers demanded lighter weight, more affordable camping accessories and drinkware, now all signs point to heavier and bulkier cups, coolers, and growlers that are literally worth their weight. That is what Stanley cites as justification for the increased bulk in the 2017 line.