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.

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James Joyner
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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.