How Winnipeg, Canada, Became the Slurpee Capital of the World
By Jake Rossen
Since 1966, customers at convenience store chain 7-Eleven have been guzzling down Slurpees. The flavored ice drink is a popular order during the warm summer months, where people can cope with hot days by submitting to brain freeze. So why has 7-Eleven anointed chilly Winnipeg, Canada, as the Slurpee Capital of the World?
According to Emily Baron Cadloff at Thrillist, it may have something to do with Winnipeg citizens leaning in to their cold climate rather than opting for warmer beverages. Since the first Winnipeg 7-Eleven opened in 1970, the drink has been flying out of dispensers. The province of Manitoba sells over twice as many Slurpees as anywhere else in Canada, with Winnipeg in particular moving an average of 188,000 Slurpees every month. Per capita, Manitoba sells more of the frosty drinks than anywhere else in the world. This despite temperatures dropping to -4° F and snow falling for around half of the year.
It’s since become embedded in local culture. There’s a market for actual Slurpee machines sold to private parties. During the store’s Bring Your Own Cup events, locals have been known to bring kitchen sinks and kiddie pools to fill up with the slush. You can even find Slurpees at weddings and in maternity wards.
7-Eleven has honored Winnipeg’s devotion to the drink by naming it the Slurpee Capital of the World on an annual basis for over 20 years. Just in case anyone needs a reminder, the city even named a street Slurpee Way in 2018.
In the U.S., Detroit usually leads the Slurpee sales charts, though residents seem to stop short of dispensing them at weddings.