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. The result was popular with customers, which gave him the idea to make a machine to help make a "slushy" from carbonated beverages. 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.
After a successful trial of ICEE machines in 100 stores, 7-Eleven in 1965 made 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 1966 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 Cherry, Coke, and Mountain Dew. But new flavors are introduced regularly. In the Slurpee's early history, flavors rotated much more frequently than today. Slurpee flavors were given novelty names such as Pink Fink, Adults Only, Moonshine, Kissin' Cousin, Gully Washer, Sticky Icky, and Redeye.
A dual-chambered Slurpee cup was announced for June 2011 release that 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.[clarification needed] Canadians purchase an average of 30 million drinks per year. Manitoba was crowned the Slurpee Capital of the World for the sixteenth year in a row in 2015. 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 do not contain yucca extract which gives it the airy consistency American Slurpees are known for.
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" and halal. The Diet Pepsi flavor uses sodium caseinate as an anti-freezing agent (sugar is a natural antifreeze 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 are not kosher.
In 1967, each flavor had a pin associated with it.[clarification needed] 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 US 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 The Rock. The flavor used for the promotion was Fanta's Berry Citrus Slam.
Every year on 11 July (7/11, month/day), 7-Eleven offered a free 7.11 fluid ounce (210 ml) Slurpee in the US and Canada thru 2014. Since 2015 the size increased to a 12-fluid ounce (355 ml) size.
In Australia, free Slurpees are given on November 7 (7/11, day/month) to coincide with 7-Eleven day.
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 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.
On April 11, 2015, customers in the USA were able to participate in Bring Your Own Cup Day for the first time. Slurpee fans could come in and enjoy any size cup, that fit through the cutout hole, for only $1.49. This promotion occurred again on August 19-20, 2016 in honor of the Slurpee's 50th anniversary.
On November 7, 2015, 7-Eleven stores in the USA celebrated the giving season with Name Your Own Price Day for Small Slurpee drinks. Net proceeds from all Large Slurpee purchases were donated to Feeding America to support local food banks.
- Slush Puppie
- Italian ice
- Frozen carbonated beverage
- List of frozen dessert brands
- Pumpable ice technology
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- Liles, Allen. Oh Thank Heaven! The story of the Southland Corporation, 1977, p. 182
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- CRC Kosher status
- Star-K Kosher Flavor List
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- 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
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