Kool-Aid is an American brand of flavored drink mix owned by Kraft Heinz based in Chicago, Illinois. The powder form was created by Edwin Perkins in 1927 based upon a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack.

Product typeDrink mix
OwnerKraft Heinz
CountryUnited States
Introduced1927; 96 years ago (1927)


The building in Hastings, Nebraska, where Kool-Aid was invented

Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. All of his experiments took place in his mother's kitchen.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3][4]

An agreement between Kraft Foods and SodaStream in 2012 made Kool-Aid's various flavors available for consumer purchases and use with SodaStream's home soda maker machine.[5]

There is an active scene of Kool-Aid collectors. A rare old Kool-Aid package can be traded for up to several hundred dollars on auction websites.[6]


Kool-Aid is usually sold in powder form, in either packets or small tubs. The actual beverage is prepared by mixing the powder with sugar (the packets of powder are usually, though not always, unsweetened) and water, typically by the pitcherful. The drink is usually either served with ice or refrigerated and served chilled. Additionally, there are some sugar-free varieties.

Kool-Aid is also sold as single-serving packets designed to be poured into bottled water, as small plastic bottles with pre-mixed drink, or as such novelties as ice cream or fizzing tablets.

The colors in Kool-Aid will stain, and hence the substance can be used as a dye for either hair[7] or wool.[8]

Advertising and promotion

The 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 television and print ads, the 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 catchphrase 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.[9]

In 2013, Kraft decided to overhaul the Kool-Aid Man, reimagining him as a CGI character, "a celebrity trying to show that he's just an ordinary guy."[10]


Original 6 flavors[11] Cherry, Grape, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry[12]
Singles flavors[13] Black Cherry, Tropical Punch, Lemonade, Pink Lemonade, Cherry, Watermelon, Orange, Summer Punch
Sugar-free flavors[citation needed] Cherry, Grape, Lemonade, Soarin' Strawberry Lemonade, Tropical Punch, Raspberry, Watermelon, KiwiLime
Water flavors[14] Jamaica, Mandarina-Tangerine, Mango, Tamarindo, Piña-Pineapple
Other flavors worldwide or previously available[14] Apple, Arctic Green Apple, Berry Blue, Bunch Berry, Blastin' Berry Cherry, Blue Berry Blast, Blue Moon Berry, Candy Apple, Cherry, Cherry Cracker, Chocolate, Cola, Eerie Orange, Frutas, Vermelhas, Golden Nectar, Grape, Grape Blackberry, Grape Tang, Melon Mango, Strawberry Splash, Great Blueberry, Great Blue-dini, Groselha, Guaraná, Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Incrediberry, Kickin-Kiwi-Lime, Kolita, Lemon, Lemon Ice, Lemonade, Lemonade Sparkle, Lemon-Lime, Lime, Man-o-Mangoberry, Mango, Mountainberry Punch, Oh-Yeah Orange-Pineapple, Orange, Orange Enerjooz, Peach, Pina-Pineapple, Pink Lemonade, Pink Swimmingo, Purplesaurus Rex, Rainbow Punch, Raspberry, Roarin' Raspberry Cranberry, Rock-a-Dile Red, Root Beer, Scary Black Cherry, Scary Blackberry, Shaking Starfruit, Sharkleberry Fin, Slammin' Strawberry-Kiwi, Soarin' Strawberry-Lemonade, Solar Strawberry-Starfruit, Strawberry, Strawberry Falls Punch, Strawberry Split, Strawberry-Raspberry, Sunshine Punch, Surfin' Berry Punch, Swirlin' Strawberry-Starfruit, Tangerine, Tropical Punch, Watermelon, Watermelon-Cherry

In popular culture

"Drinking the Kool-Aid" is a phrase suggesting that one has mindlessly adopted a dogma of a group or a (cult) leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications. The backdrop of this are events culminating in the 1978 Jonestown Massacre. At Jonestown, Guyana, followers of Jim Jones' Temple drank from a metal vat containing a mixture of "Kool Aid", cyanide, and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate. Present-day descriptions of the event sometimes claim the beverage was not Kool-Aid, but Flavor Aid,[15] a less-expensive product from Jel Sert reportedly found at the site.[16] Kraft Foods, the maker of Kool-Aid, has stated the same.[17][18] 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.[15] 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.[19] 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."[20] 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.

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a work of literary journalism by Tom Wolfe depicting the life of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. The book's title is a reference to an acid test in Watts, California, where the Pranksters spiked a batch of Kool-Aid with the psychedelic drug LSD in the 1960s.[21]

In illegal human experiments

Kool-Aid spiked with LSD was given on unsuspecting patients in the infamous project MKUltra.[22]

Other Kool-Aid products

  • Kool-Aid Ice Cream Bars
  • Kool-Aid Singles drink mixes
  • Kool-Aid Kool Bursts
  • Kool-Aid Jammers (juice pouches similar to Capri Sun)
  • Kool-Aid Fun Fizz/Pop 'n Drop
  • Kool-Pops Freezer Pops
  • Kool-Aid Dippers
  • Kool-Aid Drink Pitchers
  • Kool-Aid Cans
  • Kool-Aid Bottles
  • Ghoul-Aid Halloween themed drink mixes (revived in 2012)
  • Sugar Free Kool-Aid drink mixes
  • Kool-Aid Invisible drink mixes turns the white drink mix powder clear


  • Kool-Aid Twists drink mixes (some flavors still exist but no longer have the "Twists" moniker on the package)
  • Kool-Aid Island Twists drink mixes
  • Kool-Aid Mega Mountain Twists drink mixes
  • Kool-Aid Fruit T's drink mixes
  • Kool-Aid Koolers juice boxes
  • Kool-Aid Magic Twists drink mixes; the powder of the drink mix changed color
  • Sharkleberry Fin Kool Pumps; was a Burger King promotional item
  • Kool-Aid Ice Cool drink mixes; gave the drinker a cooling sensation
  • Kool-Aid Blast Offs space themed drink mixes


  1. ^ The History of Kool-Aid and Edwin Perkins[permanent dead link].
  2. ^ "History of Kool-Aid". Hastings Museum of Culture and History. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2008.
  3. ^ "Nebraska takes sweet turn, names Kool-Aid state drink". Deseret News. May 22, 1998.
  4. ^ Gustafson, Angela (August 9, 2011). "Nebraska's official soft drink celebrated at the 14th Annual Kool-Aid Days on Aug. 12-14". The Fence Post. Archived from the original on May 26, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
  5. ^ "Kraft and SodaStream in deal for Kool-Aid". The Chicago Tribune. Reuters. July 18, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  6. ^ Hodge, Will (June 6, 2019). "Inside the black (cherry) market of vintage Kool-Aid packet collectors". The Takeout. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  7. ^ Matt Molstad; et al. "How to dip dye your hair with kool-aid". Wiki how. Wiki How. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  8. ^ Porter, Kristi. "Dyed in the wool". knitty.
  9. ^ Newman, Andrew Adam (May 27, 2011). "ADVERTISING; Kraft Aims Kool-Aid Ads at a Growing Hispanic Market". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  10. ^ Van Hoven, Jason (April 15, 2013). "New Kool-Aid Man: Oh Yeah! What Does The New Kool-Aid Man Look Like? [VIDEO]". IBT Media, Inc. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  11. ^ "Kool-Aid Days". Archived from the original on March 16, 2012. Retrieved December 17, 2006.
  12. ^ "The History of Kool-Aid". Hastings Museum of Natural & Cultural History. 2008. Archived from the original on February 5, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2009.
  13. ^ "Kool-Aid Powdered".
  14. ^ a b Shaw, Scott (October 8, 2006). "Kool-Aid Komics". Oddball Comics. Archived from the original on June 1, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2008.
  15. ^ a b Eric Zorn (November 18, 2008). "Change of Subject, "Have you drunk the 'Kool Aid' Kool Aid". Chicago Tribune, www.chicagotribune.com. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  16. ^ Krause, Charles A. (December 17, 1978). "Jonestown Is an Eerie Ghost Town Now". Washington Post.
  17. ^ Martin Khin (December 19, 2007). "Don't Drink the Grape-Flavored Sugar Water..." Fast Company, www.fastcompany.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  18. ^ Al Thomkins (November 13, 2003). "Al's Morning Meeting, "Thursday Edition: Clearing Kool-Aid's Name"". The Poynter Institute, www.poynter.org. Archived from the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  19. ^ Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
  20. ^ "Guyana inquest" (PDF).
  21. ^ Cantor, Jay (October 19, 1968). "The Electric Kool' Aid Acid Test". www.thecrimson.com. The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  22. ^ MK-Ultra: The shocking Cold War experiments hidden by the CIA - BBC REEL on YouTube

External links