The claim: The lines on red Solo cups are measurement marks

Red Solo cups are more than just an iconic party staple – they"re also measuring cups, according to some social media users.

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Robert Hulseman invented the red Solo cup in the 1970s for families to use at picnics. Since then, the cups have also become popular for parties and other social gatherings where alcohol is served. 

A July 22 post on Facebook shows a graphic of a red Solo cup with markings for recommended servings of liquor, wine and beer.

“How old were you when you found out these lines are actually measurements?” reads text in the post from K92.3, a country radio station in Orlando.

The post has since been deleted, but other users have shared similar versions of the claim, such as one April 29 post with 2,000 shares that reads, "Did You Know: The Lines on a Solo Cup are Measurement Marks." 


This is not the first time the claim has surfaced on social media, making its way to Pinterest, Reddit and cocktail sites. It"s true that the lines roughly match recommended servings for alcoholic beverages, but it"s a coincidence. The company that manufactures Solo cups has said the lines were not intended for measuring drinks.

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USA TODAY reached out to K92.3 and the Facebook page for comment. 

Lines weren’t meant for measuring 

Newer versions of the red Solo cup have been redesigned without ridges. However, earlier versions of the cup did have lines that corresponded with the recommended serving size for beer (12 ounces), wine (5 ounces) and liquor (1.5 ounces).

But the design was not intentional, the company says.

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Margo Burrage, director of communications for Dart Container Corp., parent company of the Solo Cup Co., told PolitiFact the lines on the cup were created for a variety of reasons. Measuring alcoholic beverages wasn"t one of them. 

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"The rolled rim makes it easier to sip your drink, but also prevents a stack of SOLO cups from sticking together," Burrage told PolitiFact. "The indented base makes the cup sturdier and less likely to crack. And those extra lines keep your fingers from slipping while holding the cup. So while the lines weren’t meant for measurement, they were a quite purposeful part of the design."

When the claim first went viral in 2012, the Solo Cup Co. shared a graphic to Facebook titled, “The REAL Understanding of Lines on a SOLO Cup.” 

The company wrote that the measuring lines claim was “not true or an original part of SOLO Cup design, but surprisingly accurate.” 

USA TODAY reached out to Dart Container for additional comment. 

Our rating: Partly false

The claim that the lines on a Solo cup are measurement marks is PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. While the lines on a Solo cup closely match the standard serving size for different alcoholic drinks, it is a coincidence. The company that creates the cups has said the lines were designed for grip and strength, not measurement.