|If you see Alumni Council member Erik Michael ’98 at a campus event, you can be sure
he’s on the prowl for Tea Cooler. Yes, that sweet, refreshing blend of tea and lemonade
that is distinctively Dickinson. While many alumni and current students sing its praises, no
one can rhapsodize like Michael, a former music major who now is assistant director of corporate
relations for the Philadelphia Orchestra.
It was love at first drink, from the moment
he arrived on campus 10 years ago.
“Where I come from [West Virginia] we never combined
iced tea and lemonade to create this amazing beverage. I just needed more and more.”
he went home for the summer after spring term, he was left high and dry. Back on campus in
the fall, “I had kind of forgotten about it. Then there it was again. I couldn’t
get enough of it. I remember sitting around with friends and having conversations about Tea
‘How much did you miss Tea Cooler?’
‘Oh, you have no idea.
I’ve been drinking Pep-si all summer, and now it’s
back to normal here.’
“We definitely showed the obsession.”
Keith Martin, director of dining services,
confirms that Michael is not alone in his unquenchable thirst for Tea Cooler.
serving Tea Cooler many years ago, but within my time,” Martin says. “I’m
in my 18th year. It was so popular at catering events [where it was exclusively served] that
we started putting in juice machines in the cafeteria and buying it by the gallon. Each machine
would hold two to three gallons. We convinced the producers to manufacture five-gallon bags.”
original Tea Cooler, made by Lenkerbrook Farms Inc., was a newfangled beverage back in the ’80s,
he says. “Now everyone has a knockoff.” Martin confirms the continued
popularity among today’s students. “On the normal school day we go through 200
to 300 gallons.”
The current Dickinson supplier, Swiss Premium Farms Inc. of Lebanon,
Pa., recently began stocking Tea Cooler in Wal-Mart stores in south central Pennsylvania.
Michael found it a few weeks ago at the Wal-Mart just 15 minutes from his home.
there in the refrigerator thing was a gallon of Tea Cooler. I was beside myself. I said to
my wife [Jennifer Gura ’98], ‘Do you see this?’ She said, ‘Please
don’t make a scene.’
“It’s the closest I’ve been to Tea Cooler
since I’ve been to school,” Michael
says excitedly. “Now I can have it in the house as much as possible. But I have to
treat it as a special gift. I don’t want to get sick and tired of it. When I feel I
deserve a treat, like ice cream, I go to Wal-Mart to get a gallon of Tea Cooler, and I’m