Dickinson College Homepage Dickinson Magazine This issue of the Dickinson Magazine was mailed on Friday, October 1, 2004
From This Issue
Volume 82 • Number 2
Fall 2004

Singing the Praises of Tea Cooler
By Sherri Kimmel
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.”

When 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 Cooler:

‘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.

“We started 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.”

The 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.

“Right 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 happy.”


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