IRVING, Texas --7-Eleven Inc., which regularly showcases soda brands by re-creating them as Slurpee flavors, has launched the Big Red Slurpee in more than 650 participating Texas 7-Eleven convenience stores.
It is not the first regional beverage brand to be given the Slurpee treatment. Along with all of the other Slurpee flavors that it rolls out on a regular basis, 7-Eleven has been teaming up with regional soda makers for several years to turn consumer favorites into the iconic frozen drink.
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“Big Red is a staple on Texas Big Gulp fountain machines but has only been available in Slurpee form at select Texas stores,” said Rusty Smith, director of proprietary beverages for Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven. “The great flavor and bright red color have made Big Red a favorite with Slurpee fans, and it’s time to let the rest of the Lone Star state in on the frozen fun. Offering local favorites really lets our customers know that we are listening to them and providing the products they want.”
Founded in 1937 in Waco, Texas, Big Red has a line of six flavors. It has solidified a strong presence throughout the southern United States and the Lone Star State is the brand's top market.
“Slurpee and Big Red both epitomize originality and fun, and pairing the two puts an exciting twist on a classic summer staple,” said Thomas Oh, senior vice president of marketing for Big Red Inc. “We’re very excited 7-Eleven chose Big Red to represent Texas for their regional flavor launch because Big Red and Slurpee are celebrated for their sweet taste and summertime fun."
Big Red also markets beverage brands Big Red Zero, Big Blue, Big Peach, Big Pineapple, NuGrape and Nesbitt’s products, distributed by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Plano, Texas, independent bottlers and Pepsi Beverages Co.
"We want to bring our customers the local products they love and grew up with," said Nancy Smith, 7-Eleven senior vice president of fresh foods and proprietary beverages, when the Slurpee flavors were announced. "We have found that our customers love having their childhood-favorite sodas available as a Slurpee drink."
The retailer rolled out the Cheerwine Slurpee with Salisbury, N.C.-based Carolina Beverage Corp. at 131 7-Eleven convenience stores in North Carolina and South Carolina in August 2014.
"Our Carolina stores have carried Cheerwine soda, but locals really love having their favorite Southern soft drink as a Slurpee," Smith said. "Some tourists visiting North Carolina try Cheerwine for the first time as a Slurpee and then purchase it in cans or bottles to take home with them.
"Our goal is to get to know our guests and carry not only the products they expect to find at 7-Eleven, but also surprise them with new, unusual and fun items not typically found at a convenience store or anywhere else," she continued. "And those can vary depending on the state, city, sometimes even the neighborhood. These niche flavors have proved to be true hometown favorites because they're what the locals love and crave."
Also in 2014, 7-Eleven launched the Vernors Ginger Ale Slurpee in Michigan. The brand, created in Detroit, is now made by the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Smith is a lifelong Vernors fan. "My aunt and uncle would send cases to me while I was away at college," she said. "I'm pretty sure the shipping costs were more than the Vernors. It will be a little harder to ship a Vernors Slurpee. I just need to get back home more often."
Based in Irving, Texas, 7‑Eleven operates, franchises and licenses more than 10,700 7-Eleven convenience stores in North America. Globally, approximately 59,500 7-Eleven c-stores serve customers in 17 countries.