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Here’s a not-so-hot tip: Most beers don’t taste terrific when they’re the temperature of a tepid bath. Warmer beers lose their carbonation fast, leading to brews as flat as a busted tire. Whether you’re basking in a sunny backyard or streaming movies on the couch, a drink sleeve is crucial for keeping your lagers, IPAs, and sour ales cool and refreshing. This creates a barrier between your warm hand and the bottle or can, in addition to preventing condensation from forming. (The ambient temperature warms the droplets, which in turn warm the beer.)
The world of beer holders is nearly as diverse as beer itself. You can buy a heavy-duty cooler, a sleek sleeve for bottles, or even one big enough to keep your 32-ounce crowler good and cold.
Here are the best Koozies, sleeves, and can coolers.
Best Overall: BrüMate Hopsulator TRíO 3-in-1 Stainless Steel Insulated Can Cooler
Most insulated holders are designed to hold cans of a certain size, typically 12 ounces or 16 ounces. Kill two birds with one stone via BrüMate’s adjustable Hopsulator Trio. The attractive item is designed to hold a 16-ounce can, but the included adapter also allows you to sip from a standard 12-ounce can. Pro tip: Freeze the adapter to keep your beer extra chilly.
Moreover, you can even use the Hopsulator as a portable tumbler to hold 16 ounces of liquid, cold or hot. It's insulated with double-walled stainless steel, plus an additional layer of copper. Beers remain ice-cold and free of condensation, so say goodbye to rings on your kitchen table. Lastly, a non-slip base prevents your drink from sliding across countertops and a tight-locking gasket keeps cans from slipping out.
Best Budget: Koozie Can Cooler Blank Foam Sleeve Bottle Holder, 12 Pack
Only owning a single Koozie is a lot like stocking your silverware drawer with a single fork. What will you do if someone wants to enjoy a drink with you? When you’re drinking beer, it’s always smart to come prepared with several holders.
Kevin McGee, CEO and owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company, favors collapsible holders, such as these from the Koozie company, which launched in 1979. We like the 12-pack of assorted rainbow-hued can coolers. It's affordable; plus, with a dozen Koozies, you'll always have one on hand for whomever needs it. Better still, the budget-friendly holders arrive in a zippered bag that makes it a snap to store them when not in use.
Best for Bottles: Yowzie Beer Bottle Sleeves, 4-Pack
Many bottle sleeves do one thing well: keep beer cold. We’re big fans of these zippered sleeves because they come with a bonus built-in bottle opener to help you crack open your favorite bottles of beer. The sleeves are built well, too, made from neoprene—the same material used to insulate wetsuits. They also feature zig-zag stitching instead of glue.
These sleeves are sold by the four-pack in a range of bold, saturated colors, and they come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It also includes a one-year warranty, offering a replacement for any flaws in the materials or quality of work.
Best Insulated: YETI Rambler 12-Ounce Colster Can Insulator
Whether you like a longneck bottle of lager, can of soda, slim can of hard seltzer, or 16-ounce tallboy of your favorite hazy double IPA, Yeti makes a can insulator suited for drinks of all sizes. The sturdy drink holder, dubbed the Colster, is made from thick-gauge steel with double-wall vacuum insulation. Better yet, the vibrant Duracoat color (choose from a variety of hues) can handle a tumble without chipping or cracking. Also, the Colster’s gasket prevents cans and bottles from tumbling out.
“I love my Colster,” says Laura Ulrich of small-batch brewer Stone Brewing in San Diego. “It keeps my beers at the right temperature and has been especially awesome when drinking at the park.”
Best Personalized: My Wedding Store Custom Wedding Favor Can Coolers
Most party favors are pretty forgettable, soon tossed into the trash or tucked into a desk drawer and destined to be forgotten. A customizable beer holder, on the other hand, is both fun and functional. These collapsible foam sleeves, which hold 12-ounce cans, are almost infinitely customizable. Colors run the rainbow from neon green to pink camouflage, as well as a hue called “strawberry ice.” You can choose from dozens of different can designs, personalizing the messages however you see fit for your special day, whether it's a wedding, birthday, or graduation.
Best Large: Koverz Neoprene Water-Bottle Insulator
Breweries these days are increasingly selling fresh draft beer to-go in crowlers, a special oversized aluminum can that holds 32 ounces of liquid, filled and sealed before your eyes. Stone Brewing offers crowlers as an alternative to reusable growlers because “they’re awesome for bringing home a bigger variety of fresh new beers,” says Ulrich. She likes to bring her crowlers home in a large sleeve, ensuring that her delicious beer won’t warm too quickly.
These machine-washable neoprene sleeves come in more than 40 designs and will pull double-duty for holding water bottles. Make sure to get the XL, which is big enough to hold a crowler.
For an insulated holder that accommodates both 12- and 16-ounce cans, and can be used as a tumbler, we recommend our top pick: the BrüMate Hopsulator Trio (view at Amazon). If you're not looking for anything fancy, a 12-pack of extremely affordable and colorful Koozie Can Coolers will do you right (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Beer Koozies, Sleeves, and Can Holders
This product category comes in a variety of materials. Many Koozies are made from foam neoprene or polyurethane. They're excellent insulators that also happen to keep your hands dry. If you're often outside for an extended period of time, however, you might want to consider stainless-steel, double-wall insulation.
These beverage covers come in a variety of sizes, but the average Koozie will keep a 12-ounce can of beer or soda cold. If your needs are different, you might like the versatility of a holder that can accommodate a 12- or 16-ounce can. There are even cold keepers that can chill your 32-ounce crowler.
Are you OK with your beverage sleeve being a "uni-tasker"—i.e., something that just keeps it cold? If so, you'll want a Koozie, hands down. Or do you want to be able to do double duty if needed and use it all year round in different environments—i.e., keep your coffee hot or your beer ice-cold for hours, akin to a Thermos? You can get more bang for your buck if you select one that's insulated.
Are Koozies, sleeves, and can holders worth it?
If you want your drink to stay cold—whether it's beer or a can of seltzer—they're definitely worth it. Koozies are especially helpful if you live in a hotter climate, such as the South, and/or if you spend a lot of time outside accompanied by a refreshing beverage. These items are indispensable. And because these insulators act like a sleeve around the can, they also work as a de facto coaster, too, saving your furniture from sweat rings.
Where did the Koozie come from?
As the story goes, the Koozie brand was born in April 1979 when a construction worker discovered that piping insulation kept both his drink cold and his hands dry while on the job site. From that point forward, the Koozie has evolved both in terms of materials and design, but the essence remains the same—and many popular spin-offs and similar products like those on our list evolved, too.
How do you organize Koozies?
Like containers for leftovers and their lids, Koozies can find their way into random places in your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Some people like to line them up on their sides in a stack, others put them in a plastic bag for easy access.
Other can holders are not so formless and squishy as a Koozie and can be stored easily in a kitchen cabinet when not in use.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Joshua M. Bernstein, the author of this piece, knows beer. He's penned five books on the subject, as well as articles for The New York Times, Wine Enthusiast, Men’s Journal, and Imbibe. He interviewed two beer experts for this article.