7 Slurpee Facts for Free Slurpee Day 2021
July 11th is Free Slurpee Day! Get the scoop on the famous drink before that brainfreeze sets in.
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Free Slurpee Day 2021
Summer is coming, which means it’s time to switch to a “cold drinks only” diet. Luckily, beloved convenience store 7-Eleven has your back: On Sunday, July 11th, 2021 (otherwise known as 7-Eleven’s birthday), it’s Free Slurpee Day! Between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. you can go into any participating 7-Eleven and receive a free, 12-ounce Slurpee in the flavor of your choice. With a minimum of 34 flavors available across America (and even more if you like to mix your own drink), there’s something for everyone.
You may know everything about 7-Eleven (like why the 7-Eleven logo looks like that), but did you know that this beautiful tradition was started in 2002 to celebrate 7-Eleven’s 75th anniversary? They’ve continued it ever since except for in 2020, when Free Slurpee Day was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past, Slurpee fans have also celebrated Bring Your Own Cup Day, when you can bring a receptacle of your choice and fill it with slushy goodness for only $1.50. The only caveat? It must fit through a ten-inch-diameter hole in an in-store display, so no inflatable pools or trash cans allowed. However, you can bring a blender, vase, or hydration bladder and leave with more Slurpee than anyone should take in in one sitting. While you anxiously await July, you’ll have to satisfy that Slurpee craving with some delicious Slurpee facts.
The Slurpee was invented by accident
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and one brave drinks pioneer is the proof. In 1959, the soda fountain in Omar Knedlik’s Kansas Dairy Queen franchise was often malfunctioning, so he started storing his soda in the freezer instead. Customers loved the semi-frozen pop, and began requesting them (the high sugar content means that soda does not completely freeze). Realizing he had a slushy phenomenon on his hands, Knedlik began tinkering with a car air conditioner and eventually created an all-in-one machine that could create the drinks. He called it the ICEE. But the Slurpee’s invention story wasn’t over yet…
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What’s in a name?
The ICEE Company, which first distributed Knedlik’s ICEE drink, allowed businesses to license a specified number of ICEE dispensing machines and have exclusive distribution rights in their territories. One of these businesses was 7-Eleven, who started using the “ICEE machines” in their store, with drinks of the same name. But executives soon decided they would brand the drinks as a new product. In a May 1966 brainstorming session with 7-Eleven’s ad agency, director Bob Stanford was drinking the product through a straw when he commented that it made a “slurp” sound as it was coming through the straw, and the Slurpee was born. By the 1970s, there was a Slurpee machine in every 7-Eleven in the country.
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What’s your flavor?
Although there have been over three hundred flavors of Slurpee sold worldwide (including in Canada, Australia, and Japan), the most popular flavors in the U.S. are Coca-Cola and Wild Cherry. Limited time flavors have included Peach Perfect, Major Melon (Mountain Dew with watermelon), and a lemonade-flavored collaboration with vitaminwater called Squeezed. Many Slurpee lovers like to DIY their drink by mixing different flavors together, like Mountain Dew and Cherry. There’s even an extreme version, where you mix a little of every flavor together to make a monster Slurpee! Maybe something to think about on Free Slurpee Day?
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The Slurpee soundtrack
In 1970, 7-Eleven released a vinyl record with two songs written just for the Slurpee: “Dance the Slurp,” a catchy and danceable tune that was later sampled by DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist for their 1999 album “Brainfreeze,” and a short comedy skit on the other side. The 45 vinyl record was given away with purchases, and copies now fetch as much as $50 on eBay! The song is definitely worth a listen, but be warned that you’ll be singing “slurp, slurp” to yourself all day.
Slurpee revolutionized the straw
If you’ve ever tried to drink a milkshake through a regular straw, you know what the struggle is. Slurpees, with their thick icy chunks, are even more challenging. Fortunately, in 1968, MIT mechanical engineering grad Arthur A. Aykanian invented the spoon straw: a straw, with a little spoon on the end so you can sip and spoon with just one utensil! Over the years, 7-Eleven has had various novelty straws including edible candy straws, animal straws, tongue straws, and mustache straws. Some have even switched to biodegradable or paper straws, but we like these reusable metal spoon straws which you can keep in your purse or car and make it easier to enjoy the traditional Slurpee straw experience this Free Slurpee Day.
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Some flavors are kosher!
Those who keep kosher and enjoy a soda most likely already know that brands such as Dr. Pepper, Sunkist, and Canada Dry are kosher-certified—and so are their Slurpee versions! In fact, a total of 32 Slurpee flavors are certified kosher by the OU Kosher Certification Agency. These include old favorites like Fanta Grape and Coca-Cola, but also exciting picks like Master Chill Cherry Limeade and Fanta Kiwi Strawberry. Slurpees truly are for everyone, and not just on Free Slurpee Day.
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The Slurpee Capital of the World may surprise you
Our neighbors to the chilly north, Canada, seem like they have many reasons to stay away from the world’s iciest drink. Not the residents of Winnipeg, Manitoba, however. In 2019 Manitoba was crowned the Slurpee Capital of the World… for the twentieth year in a row. Apparently, they serve them at summer weddings, at winter football games, to new mothers, and for breakfast year-round. When you arrive at the airport in Winnipeg, your friends and family might even greet you with a Slurpee. Manitoba, we bow down before you. Remember Free Slurpee Day is July 11th, and do like the Manitobans do!