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A Short History Of Slush
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The slush machine has been manufactured for decades, but it was only in 1970 that it began to get marketed properly. A citizen of Cincinnati, Will Radcliff, who by day was a peanut salesman, was at a trade show in Chicago when he spotted a slushy maker on a stand. It was manufactured by a company name Stoelting and they had been making it for several decades prior to the 70's but it had not been promoted. Not only were there no marketing materials, but the machine didn't even have a name!
Radcliff could see that there was a great opportunity to promote the machine and he and his mother and sister sat down after dinner one evening brainstorming ideas for a name for the slushy drink that he wanted to create. They wrote down all the ideas that they had on a brown paper bag, and after an hour or two came up with Slush Puppie. They decided that the logo would be a cartoon of a dog. Although there were some other iced drinks on the market, Slush Puppie was different because it was made with flavoured syrups and water mixed together in the machine and it was non-carbonated. Soon afterwards, Radcliff founded the company, investing all his money which was $970 (just short of 10,000 today).
When he first started the business, Radcliff only offered four flavours of drinks - orange, grape, cherry, and lemon and lime. Today there are more than forty flavours available, some more popular than others. Top sellers in the UK include strawberry and mango, but the original cherry and lemon-and-lime flavours sell well too. The best seller is blue raspberry. Many of the flavours contain fortified juices and vitamins, and also preservatives and artificial colours, while some also have an addition of high fructose corn syrup. In fact it is said that an eight ounce Slush Puppie contains 119 calories which according to one source would take over half an hours' walk to burn!
With some astute marketing, the Slush Puppie became incredibly popular and by 1999 total sales had reached $25 million a year. In fact, today Slush Puppies are found in over 65 different countries including Europe and some parts of Africa. In total there are some 650,000 machines in use: when you consider that an Italian made two bowl slush machine sells in the UK for just under 1,700 that is an awful lot of investment worldwide. Even so, sales show no sign of slowing down, and for the retailer they are highly profitable.
Never one to sit on his hands, Radcliff also started another business in 1986 called Lanikai Frozen Cocktails which uses a similar process to produce cocktails such as daiquiris, margaritas, martinis, and more. Today you will find Slush Puppies and a variety of other companies' similar machines and products in all sorts of outlets such as convenience stores, cinemas, cafes and restaurants, pubs and clubs, newsagents, in fact anywhere that has a lot of footfall.
Radcliff's business was so successful that by the age of 40, in 1980, he had made enough money to be the proud owner of a Mercedes Benz S500 with the number plate 1 SLUSH, and not one, but two, private Learjets! In fact, so successful was Radcliff that in 2000 he sold the Slush Puppie Corp. to Cadbury Schweppes. Later on, in 2006, J & J Snack Foods bought the company from Cadbury Schweppes.
Radcliff duly retired in 2006 after the J & J Snack foods takeover and bought 3,000 acres of wetlands in Florida where he built himself a ranch and became a determined conservationist. He still had his home in Cincinnati and it was there that he died in September 2014 after suffering complications as the result of a fall.
Today there are a number of suppliers of slush machines and slush drinks in the UK. The appeal to retailers is that the machines take up very little space on the counter, where they are often placed next to the till in order to promote impulse purchases, and the profit margins are extremely high.
Us4slush is a leading supplier of slush machines and slush syrups in the UK, along with all the necessary accessories such as environmentally friendly paper cups, plastic cups, and slush straws with a spoon on the end, all under the brand name of Sir-Lush.
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