Debunking a Longstanding Myth About Solo Cups

Those lines aren't for measuring booze, no matter what that viral post says

An illustration of a red solo cup with a ping pong ball. Are those lines for measuring booze? We debunk that myth.
Do you know why there are lines on red Solo cups?
KaterynaRusnak/Getty Images

Few pieces of industrial design are as ubiquitous as the red Solo cups found at grocery and convenience stores around the country. They’re the right size for a host of beverages, whether you’re opting for juice, water or soda on a hot day, or, who are we kidding, drinking something boozier. But their iconic design, featuring a number of lines on the cups, has also led to a number of theories about why they look the way they do. It’s led many to conclude that the lines are there so drinkers can measure the appropriate (or, in some cases, inappropriate) levels of booze.

Unfortunately for those who like a splash of conspiracy theory with their drinking, this was not the intention of the cup’s design team.

Writing at VinePair, Ilana Davis took aim at this longstanding myth. Davis points to the work of Robert Hulseman, who came up with the cup’s design and intended for them to be easily transportable. “Though the lines on the cup appear to signify the appropriate serving of a tequila shot or a pour of Merlot, this was never Hulseman’s intention,” Davis writes, citing a recent USA Today article.

Spend enough time looking into this myth and you’ll notice something: this isn’t the first time someone’s had to debunk it. A Business Insider article from 2012 took a similar approach, for instance. What seems different now, perhaps, is that social media companies are being more proactive about the matter. Davis cites Facebook as having added disclaimers to several posts perpetuating this myth. Which seems like a positive step, though it certainly seems that there are other untruths circulating on social media that have the potential to do a lot more damage.


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