A staple at barbecues and beer pong, Red Solo cups are often synonymous with good times.
But on Tuesday, as word spread about the death of country singer Toby Keith, many raised their red Solos in sad tribute to the singer, who immortalized the humble plastic cups in his 2011 hit “Red Solo Cup.” Keith, who suffered from stomach cancer, died on Monday aged 62.
“He was a great American and an exceptional storyteller who will be deeply missed by country music,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a post Tuesday on X. “Raise your ‘Red Solo Cup’ to Toby for life. well lived.”
Hundreds of fans said they planned to fill their red Solo glasses with beer, whiskey and even wine and raise them in Keith’s memory on Tuesday. Social media was flooded with photos of Keith, with the red Solo cup in hand. Bars, such as Madison Social in Tallahassee, Florida, and Independent Brewing Co. in Bel Air, Maryland, announced drink specials served in red Solo glasses.
The Solo brand began in 1936, when Leo Hulseman, a former Dixie Co. employee, began manufacturing disposable paper cones that were sold to bottled water companies.
In the 1970s, Leo’s son, Robert Hulseman, invented the sturdy plastic cup that became synonymous with Solo. It was first released in red, but is now offered in several colors, including blue and green.
Mason, Michigan-based Dart Container Corp. bought Illinois-based Solo Cup Co. in 2012. As a private company, Dart does not release sales data, but the company said Tuesday that the Solo Cup remains “ one of the best-selling glasses.” party drinks in America today.”
“We are honored that Toby chose the iconic Solo Cup as a sign of good times, and we extend our condolences to all those who mourn him today,” Dart said in a statement Tuesday.
“Red Solo Cup” appeared on Keith’s 2011 album, “Clancy’s Tavern.” Keith did not write the song and in a 2014 interview with The Boot, a country music publication, he said that he wasn’t even sure about releasing it. But every time he played it, he noticed that people started singing almost immediately.
“It’s the stupidest song I’ve ever heard in my life, but it’s so stupid it’s good,” Keith told The Boot.
So raise a red Solo cup in honor of Keith. Because, as he once sang, “Red Solo Cup, you’re more than plastic. “You are beyond amazing, you are beyond fantastic.”