Summer’s here and the time is right . . . for trying all sorts of refreshing drinks from your friendly neighborhood c-store.

Summer’s here—the Memorial Day weekend just ushered it in—which means the country is heating up. Out here in the Salinas Valley and the Monterey Peninsula near SSCS Headquarters, we’re starting to refocus on the “sunny” in sunny California, and after an especially wet winter season, we have to say we’re more than ready!

This time of year, the weather is perfect for camping, and road tripping, and grilling, and swimming, and any other summer activity that’s your favorite, including kicking back at home. And though the variations on summer fun may be plentiful, they all share one thing in common: they go better with a cold beverage in hand.

This makes the convenience store a target destination for consumers during these longer, hotter days, and the industry has responded to the challenge. There have never been more options for quenching the someone’s thirst, and the c-store is at the forefront of the action, placing beverage innovation at the fingertips of consumers. Let’s take a brief, but by no means complete, survey of what’s out there.

Frozen Dispensed Beverages

An innovation that has lasted through the decades, and which has become synonymous with the c-store, is the slushie—frozen beverages that come out of a colorful dispenser made just to accommodate them

[1]. They are known by many brand names throughout the industry—Circle K’s Froster and Sunoco APlus’s ICEE, for example—but they are uniformly iconic no matter what c-store is serving them up.

Umbrella Drinks without the Umbrella

Gas stations near coastal areas often offer tropical-inspired beverages that transport you to a beach paradise. From fruity smoothies bursting with flavors like mango, pineapple, and coconut to exotic iced teas infused with hibiscus or passionfruit, these drinks are a sip of pure vacation.

Organic and Hand Crafted Pressed Juices

Many gas stations and convenience stores now stock a range of healthy options, including cold-pressed juices. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, these invigorating blends made from fresh fruits and vegetables are a guilt-free way to satiate your thirst and stay hydrated.

Creamy Indulgences

Convenience stores have recently come to excel in the selection of milkshakes and related ice cream beverages like floats. Food technology has helped simplify the effort it takes to provide such treats, through the inventions of machines like the f’real dispenser, which is essentially an ice cream parlor in a box!


We haven’t even begun to cover the range of cold, refreshing drinks that are out there, such as energy drinks and electrolyte replenishers, but you can find out more by doing a little research and trekking on down to your favorite c-store. Sure, it might be a little sad when summer comes to an end, but you can keep its memory alive with one of these satisfying cold drinks. Or switch to a hot one, c-stores are pretty good at providing options there, as well.


[1] The beverage industry sometimes break this out into two categories: Frozen Carbonated Beverages (FCBs)—what you most often see in c-stores—and Frozen Uncarbonated Beverages (FUBs). You can read more about the differentiation between slushie-type drinks—and a lot more about these kinds of beverages in general—in this The Atlantic article.