Local company produces paper for World Cup cups

Yupo Corporation America’s World Cup trophy is about 6 inches tall – and has been in the hands of millions of soccer fans reveling in Brazil.

The souvenirs that fans are drinking out of at World Cup venues are sheathed in synthetic paper that was specially developed and manufactured by Chesapeake-based Yupo.

They’ve been so popular that 450,000 extra cups had to be ­ordered after vendors sold out of the first 6 million that were made, said Bill Hewitt, marketing manager for Yupo, whose parent company is based in Japan. One fan was selling a cup on eBay recently for $35, plus about $3 for shipping.

The paper the company sent to Brazil for the cups – which was printed there – is enough to cover about 47 soccer fields.

The cups stand out because they’re decorated for individual matches, so American fans attending the match between the United States and Belgium – poor souls – were able to bring home souvenirs decorated with the flags of the two countries. Hewitt said people are buying them because they’re sort of like personalized mementos.

They also may be popular because they hold beer.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, a major sponsor of the competition, persuaded the Brazilian government to allow beer sales at the World Cup. The government had banned alcohol at soccer stadiums 11 years before to curb violence among fans.

The cups advertise Brahma, a Brazilian beer that’s part of the Anheuser-Busch lineup.

Mike Licata, director of business development for Yupo, said the World Cup picked the paper because it has a special grip – much like that of an orange peel – that prevents slips. Plus, it’s waterproof and untearable.

“Without our paper, this whole cup wouldn’t have happened,” Licata said.

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