KOOL-AID was invented by an young chemist named Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. As a child, Perkins developed many flavoring extracts and perfumes. Later, this led to his own mail-order company, which eventually resulted in modern-day KOOL-AID.
Bonus Fact: In 1918, Perkins married his childhood sweetheart, Kitty, and developed a remedy to kick the tobacco habit called "Nix-O-Tine."
The forerunner to KOOL-AID was Fruit Smack, which was sold via mail order in the 1920s in six flavors: Grape, Cherry, Raspberry, Orange, Root Beer, and Lemon. In 1927, Perkins developed a method of removing the liquid from Fruit Smack so the remaining powder could be re-packaged in envelopes (which Perkins designed and printed) under a new name to be called Kool-Ade. So Kool-Aid was developed in 1927.
The original spelling of KOOL-AID was Kool-Ade, but the name was soon changed to its popular modern-day spelling.
The product, which sold for 10¢ a packet, was first sold to wholesale grocery, candy and other suitable markets by mail order in six flavors; strawberry, cherry, lemon-lime, grape, orange and raspberry. During the Great Depression, Perkins cut the price in half to just 5¢ a packet, a "luxury" most families could afford.
The most popular flavors are:
Based on per capita sales, KOOL-AID is most popular in St. Louis, Missouri. The other top five cities are (in order) Memphis, Tennessee, San Antonio, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana and Little Rock, Arkansas.
From its earliest days, KOOL-AID has been available in Latin America. KOOL-AID began printing a Spanish version of its label shortly after launching the product. KOOL-AID is also available in Canada, the Caribbean, and Asia.
KOOL-AID is certainly an All-American favorite. So it's no surprise that more KOOL-AID is sold the week right before and the week after the 4th of July than any other period during the year.
More than 563 million gallons of KOOL-AID are consumed each year, with more than 225 million gallons in the summer. In other words, 17 gallons of KOOL-AID are consumed every second during the summer season!
If all the envelopes of KOOL-AID sold in a year were laid end-to-end, they would stretch 58,524 miles, which would wrap around the Earth's equator twice - or between Los Angeles and New York more than 20 times!
In 1953, Perkins announced to his staff that he was selling Kool-Aid to General Foods. Within a year, the popular Smiling Face Pitcher was introduced in print advertisements. Root Beer and Lemonade flavors were added to the original six flavors in 1955 and pre-sweetened Kool-Aid was developed in 1964 and redeveloped in 1970.
KOOL-AID Man, originally known as the Pitcher Man crashed onto the scene in 1975.
KOOL-AID Man traditionally wears a rainbow-striped shirt, jeans and sneakers. But his wardrobe varies according to the occasion. For example, he wears:
The famed frosted KOOL-AID pitcher has been part of the company since 1954. Three different messages appeared in the frosted pitcher ads that summer:
Much thought went into the location of the handle on the KOOL-AID pitcher. It was finally decided to place the handle on the right side so that right-handers (which make up 90 percent of kids) would be able to see the smile on the pitcher while pouring.
KOOL-AID has distributed more than 4 million plastic pitchers to consumers since 1963. In addition, more than half a million plastic pitchers will be handed out in supermarkets in 1998!
Today, one glass of KOOL-AID - which cost less than a penny a glass back in 1927 - is still a bargain, costing less than a nickel a glass and beating the rate of inflation since 1947!
Edwin Perkins introduces Fruit Smack, the soft drink syrup that is the forerunner of Kool-Aid, in six flavors: Cherry, Grape, Lemon, Orange, Root Beerand Raspberry.
Perkins modifies Fruit Smack by concentrating it into a powder and repackaging it into an envelope. He changes the name to “Kool-Ade” soft drink mix. (The name changed to Kool-Aid shortly thereafter.)
Kool-Aid offers the first of many send-in promotion for kids. Customers can save packages and send away for a Junior Aviation Corps pilot or hostess cap.
Perkins introduced Kool-Aid carbonated soda pop.
General Foods Corporation acquires Kool-Aid when it purchases the Perkins Products Company.
The Kool-Aid smiling pitcher first appears in print advertisements.
A plastic Smiling Pitcher is offered to children as a premium (for 60 cents and a Kool-Aid label). By 1964 over 100,000 orders had been received, making it one of General Foods’ most popular premium offers. Inside the pitcher is an additional offer for 3 matching plastic smiling mugs for 50 cents.
Cherry-Lime flavor is introduced.
Pre-sweetened KOOL-AID instant soft drink mix with artificial sweetening is introduced in five flavors: Cherry, Grape, Orange, Raspberry and Strawberry.
Lemonade flavor and Tropical Punch flavor are introduced.
KOOL-AID sugar sweetened soft drink mix, and newly fortified with vitamin C, is introduced in six flavors: Cherry, Grape, Orange, Punch and Raspberry.
Candy Apple flavor is tested briefly.
Kool-Aid Man bursts on the scene by making his first appearance in print and television advertising. Advertising Age magazine picks that commercial as one of the year’s 100 best.
Commemorative historical packaging is introduced during 50th anniversary of Kool-Aid.
Kool-Aid Koolers, aseptically packaged liquid beverages, are introduced nationally.
Kool-Aid Man begins to appear on packaging. He participates in a variety of popular activities.
Kool-Aid Bursts soft drinks in squeezable, see-through plastic bottles (packaged as six-packs) are introduced.
Nebraska Governor Ben Nelson declares Kool-Aid the “Official Soft Drink of Nebraska.”
Kool-Aid Man is honored in Hollywood with a footprint ceremony at Mann’s Chinese Theatre. The concrete footprint is later donated to the town of Hastings, Nebraska.
Kool-Aid Man is named an honorary citizen of Nebraska.
Kool-Aid Jammers, a ready-to-drink variety of Kool-Aid is introduced in a pouch with a clear back.
The six original flavors are Cherry, Grape, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Raspberry and Strawberry.
Root Beer becomes the seventh Kool-Aid flavor.
Lemon flavor and Fruit Punch flavor are introduced.
Black Cherry flavor and Pink Lemonade flavor are introduced.
Golden Nectar flavor is introduced.
Tangerine flavor is introduced.
Pineapple-Grapefruit flavor is introduced.
Lemon-Grape flavor is introduced.
Sunshine Punch flavor introduced.
Apple flavor is tested briefly.
Kool-Aid pre-sweetened sugar free soft drink mix with NUTRASWEET is available nationally.
Rainbow Punch flavor introduced.
Mountain Berry Punch and Strawberry Falls Punch flavors introduced.
Surfin’ Berry Punch flavor introduced.
Bedrock Orange and Yabba-Dabbo Doo Berry flavors introduced. These flavors featured characters from the Flintstones cartoons.
Incrediberry, Sharkleberry Fin, Purplesaurus Rex and Pina-Pineapple flavors are introduced.
Cherry Cracker and Berry Blue flavors introduced.
Great Bluedini flavor is introduced.
Pink Swimmingo - a blend of watermelon, cherry and peach flavors - is introduced.
Kickin’ Kiwi Lime, Man-O-Mango Berry, and Oh Yeah Orange Pineapple flavors are introduced as part of the Island Twists sub line.
Grape Berry Splash, Roarin’ Raspberry Cranberry, and Soarin’ Strawberry Lemonade are introduced as part of the Mega Mountain Twists sub line.
Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Blastin’ Berry Cherry flavors are introduced. Mandarina-Tangerine flavor is also introduced in the first Kool-Aid English/Spanish bi-lingual packaging.
Two space-age Kool-Aid flavors are introduced as part of the new Blast-offs line: Solar Strawberry Starfruit and Blue Moon Berry.
New Magic Twists line -- which features color-changing flavors -- is introduced, including Grape Illusion and Changin’ Cherry flavors.
Switchin’ Secret flavor, a part of the Magic Twists line, is introduced.
Over the years there have been over 74 different flavors.
* Arctic Green Apple
* Bedrock Orange
* Berry Blue
* Black Cherry
* Blastin' Berry Cherry
* Blue Berry Yum Yum
* Blue Moon Berry
* Blue Raspberry
* Bunch Berry
* Candy Apple
* Changin' Cherry
* Cherry Cracker
* Cherry Subway
* Eerie Orange
* Golden Nectar
* Grape Berry Splash
* Great Bluedini
* Ice Blue Island Twist
* Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade
* Jamaica (Hibiscus)
* Kickin' Kiwi-Lime
* Kiwi Strawberry
* Lemonade Tea
* Lemon Ice
* Mountain Berry Punch
* Mountain Spring
* Oh-Yeah Orange-Pineapple
* Pink Lemonade
* Pink Swimmingo
* Purplesaurus Rex
* Rainbow Punch
* Red Fruit
* Root Beer
* Raspberry Reaction
* Rockadile Red
* Scary Black Cherry
* Scary Blackberry
* Sharkleberry Fin
* Slammin' Strawberry Kiwi
* Soarin' Strawberry-Lemonade
* Solar Strawberry Star Fruit
* Strawberry Falls Punch
* Strawberry Split Punch
* Strawberry Tea
* Sunshine Punch
* Surfin' Berry Punch
* Swirlin' Strawberry Starfruit
* Tropical Punch
* Watermelon Kiwi
* Wildberry Tea
* Yabba Dabba Doo Berry