Long Live the Flask
Nowadays, flasks are not as necessary as they were during Prohibition, but they remain a symbol of cool and covert imbibing. Plenty of people still use flasks to sneak their favorite libation into places it’s not allowed, be it ball games, concert venues or movie theaters—and hundreds of retailers have gotten in on the action—from specialized companies like Flask.com to big box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart. There are also artisanal flask producers like Jacob Bromwell, an almost 200-year-old Indiana household goods maker, which sells a 100 percent copper Great American Flask, based on an original 1819 design.
Instead of staghorn, copper or sterling silver, most modern flasks are made from ultra-durable stainless steel—or even plastic. The invention of plastic in the 20th century proved to be a turning point in the hip flask’s evolution, leading to the creation of flasks that are at once undetectable in scanners and disposable. Some liquor companies even choose to bypass the middleman and sell their spirits in these plastic flasks—now that’s innovation. But aside from the material from which it’s made, the flask’s basic functionality and design haven’t changed much over the past century. Many still serve as a means of expression, emblazoned with sports team mascots or political messages, like the historical flasks of the mid-1800s, as well as less divisive illustrations like adorable kitty cats.
All hip flask-carrying folk should keep in mind that carrying this handy drinking accoutrement isn’t always wise. In most public places they are illegal, thanks to open container laws—being caught with a flask could lead to a hefty fine or, perhaps, more serious consequences. But it’s hard to deny the greatness of the flask when you’re discreetly taking the edge off an uncomfortable holiday spent with family or slugging back some whiskey in front of a campfire. While you can legally buy a bottle at a liquor store or a measure of your favorite liquor at any bar, it’s nice to occasionally raise a flask in remembrance of scofflaws past.