Edwin Perkins, the inventor of the colorful powder that transforms water into an inexpensive flavored beverage, stirred up the concoction in his mother’s kitchen in 1927.
Perkins was born in Lewis, Iowa in 1889, but his family moved to Hastings in 1893. He first created a fruit-flavored liquid concentrate called Fruit-Smack which was sold door-to-door or through the mail. Later he discovered a way to distill the liquid and marketed the powdered mix, known then as Kool-Ade, to grocery stores as an inexpensive beverage option.
Perkins promised “10 glasses of beverage for 10 cents.”
The popular product soon led to international sales, the name was changed to Kool-Aid in 1934, and General Foods snatched it up in 1953. By this time, Perkins had moved his company to Chicago. He died at the age of 72 in Minnesota. Kool-Aid is now part of the Kraft Food family. The Perkins family honored their Nebraska roots with philanthropic donations which include the Perkins Recital Hall and Perkins Library at Hastings College.
My personal favorite, as a kid, was black cherry. I suppose I drank gallons of Kool-Aid at 4-H meetings, Vacation Bible School, and family reunions. Mom used to freeze Kool-Aid using those Tupperware plastic popsicle thingies–remember those??