Machines to make frozen beverages were invented by Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s. The idea for a slushed ice drink came when Knedlik's soda fountain broke down, forcing him to put his sodas in a freezer to stay cool, which caused them to become slushy. Many people loved them, which gave him the idea to make a machine to help make a "slushy". When it became popular, Knedlik hired artist Ruth E. Taylor to create a name and logo for his invention. She created the ICEE name and designed the original logo, which is used today. Early prototypes for the machine made use of an automobile air conditioning unit. In 1965, 7-Eleven began a licensing deal with The ICEE Company to sell the product under certain conditions. Two of these were that 7-Eleven must use a different name for the product, and that the company was only allowed to sell the product in 7-Eleven locations in the US, a non-compete clause ensuring the two drinks never went head to head for distribution rights. 7-Eleven then sold the product that in 1967 became known as the "Slurpee" (for the sound made when drinking them). The term was coined by Bob Stanford, a 7-Eleven agency director.
The Slurpee machine has a separate spout for each flavor at the front of a tumbler or freezer, where patrons pour their own Slurpees. When Slurpees were first introduced, the dispensing machine was located behind the counter, and the clerk was tasked with dispensing the product. Common flavors are frozen Coke, Mountain Dew, and cherry, but new flavors are introduced regularly. In the Slurpee's early history, flavors rotated much more frequently than today. Slurpee flavors were given names. Some of the names used were Pink Fink, Adults Only, Moonshine, Kissin Cousin, Gully Washer Sticky Icky, and Redeye.
A dual-chambered Slurpee cup was announced for June 2011 release which uses a double straw and switchable valve to allow consumers to drink either of the flavors alone or both flavors simultaneously.
Slurpees are offered in many but not all covered countries. Canadians purchase an average of 30 million drinks per year. Manitoba was crowned the Slurpee Capital of the World for the fourteenth year in a row in 2013. 7-Eleven stores across Winnipeg sell an average of 188,833 Slurpee drinks per month. The rest of Canada sells an average of 179,700 per month, which makes Winnipeggers the world leader of Slurpee sales. Unlike their counterparts in America, Canadian Slurpees are not injected with air.
6.6 million are sold in Australia each year.
In 1990, Dallas-based Southland Corp., 7-Eleven's founder and US operator, went bankrupt, but Seven-Eleven Japan, and its parent Ito-Yokado, bought 70% of Southland in 1991 for $430 million and quickly launched renovations of the US stores. As a result, the US chains became more efficient, though 1,218 stores closed. Following the Japanese model, the new 7-Elevens set up a weekly system to monitor inventories to ensure popular items are always in stock.
Religious and dietary information
Most Slurpee flavors are certified kosher "pareve" as well as halal. The Diet Pepsi flavor uses sodium caseinate as an anti-freezing agent (sugar is a natural anti-freeze in other flavors) which only gives it the status of kosher dairy. The Piña Colada, Twizzler Strawberry, Tropicana Grape Wild Strawberry, and Monster Black flavors, however, are not kosher.
In 1967, each flavor had a pin associated with it. There were pins made for the flavors Sticky Icky, Redeye, Moon Shine, Pink Fink, Adults Only, Kissin Cousin and Gully Washer. There was also a generic pin that simply stated "I have Slurped".
In 1968, the Official Slurp Hat was offered.
In 1970, 7-Eleven released a 45 titled "Dance the Slurp" that was given away with Slurpee purchases. The B-side was a comedy bit detailing "strange things" that happen to people who "slurp" at 7-Eleven. The record is considered highly collectible today. In 1999, "Dance the Slurp" was sampled by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist for their Brainfreeze mix album.
In 1994, 7-Eleven sought to remake Slurpee's "brain freeze" campaign targeted to the adolescent MTV audience. The creative directors assigned the task of creating four new commercials to the Brothers Quay, and Boston-based Olive Jar Animation. Known for their bizarre aesthetic and influence in the stop-motion animations industry, the Quays based their "brain freeze" ad on a late 19th-century photograph of a female contortionist. In the commercial, a curtain reveals the contortionist balancing on two chairs, bending over backward to sip a Slurpee. She falls victim to "brain freeze" and turns into an ice cube.
Starting in 1995, free Slurpee coupons have been made available through "Operation Chill®" for local police officers to distribute to children.
In 1998, 7-Eleven launched Slurpee lip balm to the market. Other "Slurpee-flavored" products have included Slurpee gum, which had a liquid candy center.
In 2004, 7-Eleven created an edible Slurpee straw.
In 2007, as part of the Kwik-E-Mart promotion for the feature film The Simpsons Movie, Slurpees at 7-Elevens were renamed "Squishees" (the analog in the Simpsons universe) and sold in special collector cups.
Starting on November 4, 2008, 7-Eleven worked with Nexon to promote Slurpees to gamers that play on Nexon.net. The Slurpee cups had images printed on them from certain Nexon games, and a code printed on them that could be redeemed on a website for special in-game items.
Also for professional wrestling WWE's Summerslam 2010 7-Eleven offered collectible Slurpee cups of Rey Mysterio, John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H & Kelly Kelly. They also came with collectible straws with figures of each wrestler on them. The flavor used for the promotion was Barq's Root Beer. As well as for the 2011 SummerSlam, which again featured Cena, The Miz, 2009 WWE Hall of Famer "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and former WWE Superstar The Rock. The flavor used for the promotion was Fanta's Berry Citrus Slam.
Every year on July 11 (7/11, month/day), 7-Eleven offers a free 7.11 fluid ounce (210 ml) Slurpee in the US and Canada.
Since July 7, 2011, 7-Eleven has partnered with Cinemark Theatres marking the first time Slurpees are sold outside its parent franchise. 32 theatres are chosen in Houston, Texas; Dallas, Texas; and Portland, Oregon this marks the first reappearance of the Slurpee brand in the Houston metro area since 1990 (all 7-Elevens in the Houston area were sold to National Convenience Stores that owned Stop-n-Go - all Houston-area 7-Elevens were rebadged as Stop-n-Gos until Diamond Shamrock acquired the franchise in the late 1990s, now part of the Valero empire).
In Australia on September 21, 2011, customers could bring in their own cups (or container, regardless of size) and fill it full of Slurpee for only $2.60 (a portion of the price of a Super Slurpee) as long as it would fit through a cutout hole limiting the size; this however did not stop people from receiving up to and above 5 liters of Slurpee for less than the price of a Super Slurpee. This event was known as Bring Your Own Cup Day.
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- Schuman, Michael. "Sushi Slurpee." Forbes 156.5 (1995): 12. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
- CRC Kosher status
- Star-K Kosher Flavor List
- Goldrich, Robert. "Brothers Quay offer upside-down perspective on Slurpee." SHOOT 36.26 (1995): 12. Film & Television Literature Index with Full Text. EBSCO. Web. 19 Oct. 2010.
- Thousand Oaks Deputies Recognize Good Citizenship by issuing youth 7-Eleven "Operation Chill" Coupons for Free Slurpees https://local.nixle.com/alert/5025239/?sub_id=120414
- "7-Eleven Becomes Kwik-E-Mart for 'Simpsons Movie' Promotion". Fox News. 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-07-03.
- "Nexon Slurpee Promo". Nexon.
- "Free Slurpees 2010". CoolBee.
- "Slurpees Australia".
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- 7-Eleven's Official Slurpee website
- "The Slurpee at 40: Has it grown up?" by David Amsden, Slate.com, Sept. 14, 2005
- Kosher Slurpee List