Slurpee Celebrates 40 years of ‘Brain Freeze’

Slurpee turns 40 today. 7-11 is giving away free samples to celebrate.

Slurpee celebrates 40 years of ‘brain freeze’ (USA Today)

Photo: Mountain Dew SlurpeeLong before smoothies and Frappuccinos there was the Slurpee. The slushy, colorful 7-Eleven brand – and American icon – turns 40 today and is still popular for the same reasons it caught on back then: fun, variety, “brain freeze” and colored tongues. “We’ve kept it fun with the interesting flavors we’ve had over the years,” says Jim Keyes, 7-Eleven CEO. “At the heart of it, it’s just a fun product that people enjoy.”

Today, consumers can enjoy a free sample at 7-Eleven’s 5,800 stores in the USA and Canada. The samples kick off a month-long Slurpee promotion that includes radio play of original 1960s Slurpee ads, retro 1973 cups, Coca-Cola-developed flavors Blue Blunder Berry and Gully Washer, free music downloads and a giveaway of four Mini Coopers in a Slurpee color.

Slurpee was born in Kansas at a Dairy Queen where owner Omar Knedlik served semi-frozen bottled soft drinks. When they were a hit, he worked with a Dallas company to develop the “Icee” machine that replicated that consistency in slushy soft drinks served at 28 degrees. When a 7-Eleven manager happened upon an Icee machine in a rival’s store, he saw potential and got them into three 7-Eleven stores in 1965. Within two years, they were in almost every 7-Eleven – renamed Slurpees for the noise they make through a straw.

Photo: Icee

I actually grew up on the Icee brand rather than the more famous ripoff brand. Both are quite tasty, however.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Yeah, I remember when the first 7-Eleven store I ever heard of was still selling Icee®s — they’re still available here and there. Last one I had, I got at a snack-bar type place at Arbor Place Mall in Douglasville, Ga.

    Same mall where I had my last A&W meal.

  2. Zsa Zsa says:

    Just the mention of the ICEE conjures up memories! Does anyone remember Green Stamps? There was a Green Stamp store next to the 7 11…

  3. I too grew up on Icees–got them in K-Marts years ago. Years ago when I was at a student conference at Georgetown University I had my first Slurpee. It seemed less icy than an Icee. And 7-11 offered more interesting flavors.

  4. McGehee says:

    S&H Green Stamps® and their competitor, Blue Chip® stamps! Oh yes — we got a few nice things that way.