7-Eleven may help spread the 'Screamer' but drink's origins still a mystery

Local legend has it that the part slushie, part ice-cream hybrid originated with the Mr. G convenience stores in Prince George, some of which are now being converted to 7-Elevens.

It's believed that the part slushie, part ice-cream hybrid came from Mr. G convenience stores in Prince George

An ice machine with a decal advertising the screamer, outside a former Mr. G that is now a convenience store. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

A half-drink, half-dessert hybrid that may have originated in Prince George is poised to pop up in convenience stores across the country and possibly around the world — although it is still not clear exactly who came up with the "Screamer" first.

The drink, which combines slushie (or Slurpee) with soft-serve ice cream on the top, bottom, middle or blended in, is said by some to originate at Mr. G, a convenience store chain in Prince George.

A screamer from a Mr. G convenience store in Prince George. (www.facebook.com/mrGstores)

The majority of the Mr. G stores were bought last October by 7-Eleven, and the remaining two locations were sold separately and neither will stay open as a Mr. G.

However, in an email to CBC News a 7-Eleven spokesperson said the hybrid drink will continue to be offered in Mr. G stores they took over, some of which have already converted into 7-Elevens.

"When we asked our customers in Prince George about what was important to them, we heard Screamers loud and clear," the statement read.

"As a result, 7-Eleven will be offering new Slurpee Screemers in all Mr. G's stores that are converting to 7-Eleven's. We wanted to ensure we carry on the legacy." (Note the statement changed "Screamers" to "Screemers" when referring to 7-Eleven's new product).

Jennifer Bawa, marketing manager for 7-Eleven Canada, confirmed in an interview with Daybreak North producer Andrew Kurjata that Screamers will continue to be offered, and said, "We want to ensure we really carried on that legacy."

When asked if the retail giant would consider introducing the Screamer to its other stores, Bawa said "absolutely."

The Yelp page for Danny's Market in Richmond, where owner Danny Khataw says he sells the "original" screamer. (Screenshot)

"We're looking to see how the Prince George results go first. But yes, absolutely, [that's] something we're considering."

Potentially, the Screamer has the chance to move from regional junk food to the summer drink of choice across the globe.

7-Eleven has 50,000 locations in 17 countries, and their signature Slurpee has become the common name for the generic slushie drink it trademarked.

Origin of the Screamer?

Where the Screamer really first came from, is still unclear.

Danny Khataw, who runs Danny's Market in Richmond and has a large sign advertising Screamers, said the ice-cream and slushie mix was a drink he invented.

He said that, growing up in Pakistan, he used to often combine his ice cream with pop.

"I had a passion since my childhood," Khataw said, adding that he began selling the drink when he took ownership of Danny's Market in 1999 and had access to his own slushie and soft-serve ice cream machines.

"We had the original one. Lots of people copy us. But lots of people tell us, 'Wow, your product is the best, number one.'"

A newspaper advertisement from The Prince George Citizen in 1989. (The Prince George Citize)

However, an advertisement from 1989 in the Prince George Citizen — to celebrate the grand opening of Mr. G's ninth location in Prince George — shows "Mr. G's Famous Screamers" for sale.

Larry Hyette, who is listed as the president of Mr. G, did not return a request for comment.

Producer Andrew Kurjata, who has been searching for the scoop on the Screamer for CBC'sDaybreak North, would like to hear him from anyone who knows where the Screamer may come from.

He can be reached at Screamer@kurjata.ca or on twitter at @akurjata.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Searching for the scoop on the origin of the Screamer, a half-slushie, half ice cream drink

With files from Andrew Kurjata