Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Thirst Quencher of the Ages

by Connie Cortright

Today it's time for a quiz. What is the official soft drink of Nebraska? Bet you didn't know it was Kool-Aid. The reason... it was invented in Hasting, Nebraska in 1927 by Edwin Perkins.

Mr. Perkins was an inventor from the time he was a young boy. In 1920 he came up with a way to make a concentrated soft drink in six flavors that was sold in bottles named Fruit Smack.

It was a hit with kids back then, but had problems with the bottles breaking in shipment. By 1927, he found a way to concentrate it in powder form and changed the name to Kool-Ade. Mothers liked this product since it sold for ten cents and, when the water was added, made two quarts of drink

It only took two years for this local invention to expand in popularity. By 1929, Kool-Ade was sold in stores across the country making millions of children happy.

When the Depression hit, the price was lowered even further to five cents. Since cash was in such short supply during those years, mothers appreciated it even more and could afford to pick up some Kool-Ade packages at the store. The name was also changed to Kool-Aid about this time.

This, then, is another item that you can serve to your children that your grandparents enjoyed when they were little. I know that I served it to my children when they were growing up since it was inexpensive and went a long way to quench the thirsty throats of growing boys.

 What was your favorite flavor? Ours was lemon-lime Kool-Aid, which was hard to find during the 1980s for some reason. I think I drank half of the pitcher whenever we discovered lime on the grocer shelves.

In 1998, Nebraska decided to make Kool-Aid the official soft drink of the state. And... if you're in the area of Hasting, during the second weekend in August, make sure you stop by to help them celebrate "Kool-Aid Days" to commemorate the history of this drink invented by a son of the state. They have carnival games, inflatable rides, races and a parade along with the World's Largest Kool-Aid Stand during the weekend. Sounds like fun. I'll have to see if it fits in my schedule.

Information taken from Nebraska State Historical Society

1 comment:

  1. We drank a lot of Kool-Aid. I liked Goofy Grape. We still have the Lefty Lemon mug, in use as a pencil holder.