Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. All of his experiments took place in his mother's kitchen. Its predecessor was a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack. To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder. This powder was named Kool-Aid. Perkins moved his production to Chicago in 1931 and Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods in 1953. Hastings still celebrates a yearly summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August, in honor of their city's claim to fame. Kool-Aid is known as Nebraska's official soft drink.
An agreement between Kraft Foods and SodaStream International in 2012 made Kool-Aid's various flavors available for consumer purchases and use with SodaStream's home soda maker machine.
Kool-Aid is usually sold in powder form, in either packets or small tubs. The drink is prepared by mixing the powder with sugar and water (typically by the pitcher-full). The drink is usually served with ice or refrigerated and served chilled. Additionally, there are some sugar-free varieties. Kool-Aid is/was also sold as single-serving packets designed to be poured into bottled water, as small plastic bottles with pre-mixed drink, or as novelties (ice cream, fizzing tablets, etc.) Most consumers know Kool-Aid for its advertising character the Kool-Aid man.
Advertising and promotion
Kool-Aid Man, an anthropomorphic pitcher filled with Kool-Aid, is the mascot of Kool-Aid. The character was introduced shortly after General Foods acquired the brand in the 1950s. In TV and print ads, Kool-Aid Man was known for randomly bursting through walls of children's homes and proceeding to make a batch of Kool-Aid for them. His catch phrase is "Oh, yeah!"
Starting in 2011, Kraft began allocating the majority of the Kool-Aid marketing budget towards Latinos. According to the brand, almost 20 percent of Kool-Aid drinkers are Hispanic, and slightly more than 20 percent are African-American.
In 2013, Kraft decided to overhaul the Kool-Aid man, reimagining him as a CGI character trying to show that he's just an ordinary guy.
Kool-Aid Mega Mountain Twists drink mixes (discontinued)
Kool-Aid Fruit T's drink mixes (discontinued)
Ghoul-Aid Halloween themed drink mixes (revived in 2012)
Sugar Free Kool-Aid drink mixes
Kool-Aid Magic Twists drink mixes (discontinued) the powder of the drink mix changed color
Sharkleberry Fin Kool Pumps (discontinued) was a Burger King promotional item
Kool-Aid Ice Cool drink mixes (discontinued) gave the drinker a cooling sensation
Kool-Aid Invisible drink mixes turns the white drink mix powder clear
Kool-Aid Blast Offs space themed drink mixes (discontinued)
In popular culture
"Drinking the Kool-Aid" refers to the 1978 Jonestown Massacre; the phrase suggests that one has mindlessly adopted the dogma of a group or leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications. At Jonestown, Jim Jones' followers followed him to the end: after visiting Congressman Leo Ryan was shot at the airstrip, all the Peoples Temple members drank from a metal vat containing a mixture of "Kool Aid" (actually Flavor Aid), cyanide, and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate. Present-day descriptions of the event often refer to the beverage not as Kool-Aid but as Flavor Aid, a less-expensive product reportedly found at the site.Kraft Foods, the maker of Kool-Aid, has stated the same. Implied by this accounting of events is that the reference to the Kool-Aid brand owes exclusively to its being better-known among Americans. Others are less categorical. Both brands are known to have been among the commune's supplies: Film footage shot inside the compound prior to the events of November shows Jones opening a large chest in which boxes of both Flavor Aid and Kool-Aid are visible. Criminal investigators testifying at the Jonestown inquest spoke of finding packets of "cool aid" (sic), and eyewitnesses to the incident are also recorded as speaking of "cool aid" or "Cool Aid." However, it is unclear whether they intended to refer to the actual Kool-Aid–brand drink or were using the name in a generic sense that might refer to any powdered flavored beverage.
In 1990 Victims Family release a song named Drink the Kool-Aid, referring to the above mentioned massacre
In 2010 Ice Cube released a song named "Drink the Kool-Aid"
In 1999 rap singer Eminem mentioned it in the lyrics of the radio edit of the song My Name Is, in the line "I just drank a fifth of Kool-Aid, dare me to drive?". (The original lyric is "I just drank a fifth of vodka")
In the song Blow by Ke$ha there is a lyric referencing to Kool Aid as "Drink that Kool Aid, follow my lead"
Family Guy has often featured the Kool-Aid Man bursting through a wall and exclaiming "Oh, yeah!" This happens at inappropriate times, leaving the Kool-Aid Man embarrassed as he retreats back into the hole he made, e.g. towards the end of the courtroom scene in "Stewie Kills Lois" (Season 6, episode 4).
In 2012, Natalia Kills released a promotional video entitled "Controversy" containing the lyrics "Drink the Kool-Aid, don't drink the Kool-Aid".
In the Season 2 finale of the popular YouTube series Epic Rap Battles of History, Gorbachev (Epic LLoyd) refers to kicking down the Berlin Wall like the Kool-Aid Man in the line "Tear down that wall like the Kool-Aid Man, Oh Yeah!"