Cactus Cooler

Cactus Cooler

In the western states, carbonated soft drink fans have long enjoyed a little local delicacy called Cactus Cooler. A welcome addition to any backyard barbecue, beach party, or anywhere else the blistering sun beckons you to reach for some ice-cold refreshment, the sweet nectar contained in these yellow, orange and green cans has been quenching thirsts for decades.

If the name sounds familiar for some reason, you might remember that Fred Flintstone also had a favorite drink called a cactus cooler on The Flintstones. He is said to have inspired this uniquely flavored, real-life concoction, a delectable mix of pineapple and orange flavors. The drink isn’t overly carbonated, making it very easy to chug down on a hot summer day. It is, however, amazingly sweet and provides a sugar rush that will catch your attention.

For the uninitiated, the trick, of course, is to locate Cactus Cooler. Even in California, it has always received far less real estate on store shelves than the competition, and is usually hiding at the end of the aisle, alongside the Canada Dry ginger ale (who distributed the soft drink for many years). Today, the brand falls under the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, giving legions of fans in other parts of the country hope that someday they might be able to walk into a store and buy a Cactus Cooler. Until then, the product is available for purchase online.

If you were lucky enough to grow up in Cactus Cooler country, share your memories of this rare soft drink delicacy with all of us at Retroland in our comments section, as we tip our hats to this legendary local favorite.

15 Responses to “Cactus Cooler”

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  1. Mitch says:

    Cactus Coolers have always been available just about anywhere in Arizona! I’ve been drinking them my whole life.

    • eric says:

      Likewise, I’ve been drinking them ever since I moved to California. Other parts of the country don’t know what they are missing.

      • Dave says:

        I do! I moved from California to the East coast a long time ago, and it’s been 7 years since I last had one. I don’t want to pay for shipping though, it is the greatest drink ever invented!…In my opinion

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cactus Cooler is outstanding. However, it isn’t fluorescent green. It’s orange.
    Also, they sell it in Arizona.

  3. Growing up in SoCal I had the pleasure of enjoying nice,cold Cactus Coolers.Living
    in Kansas now you can only get them here by mail-order,expensive.My sister from
    L.A. brought me out three cases on her last visit.I felt I had a small piece of home
    to enjoy and my infrequently-gotten fav. drink.PLEASE BRING IT TO KANSAS!.

  4. Gina says:

    I picked up one of these at a gas station convenience store on a road trip of the Southwest. Probably in Arizona. I like trying new or different kinds of soda, so I picked this up instead of Coke or Pepsi.

  5. Buddy says:

    It also has a hint of cream soda.

  6. amber elliott says:


    Gotta tell you that I bragged and teased my son about Cactus Cooler for years! This past Spring Break, we flew ‘back home’ and hit Trader Joe’s, found that Mother’s Market is now a chain :) :) BUT, my son whined till I got him a 2 L of CC.. And, the day before we left, I got a wine box, and packed 12 cans of CC into it and mailed it home.

    Soda, 12 pkg CC $3.29.
    Fed Ex’d (including all the junk frm Mother’s & Trader Joe’s $17.95 !

    Going back again soon!


  7. Limousine says:

    Damn, Ive been looking for information like this for a while now. Thanks!

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  9. ddlrio says:

    I love this drink for many reasons: growing up, my siblings and I were not allowed to drink soda, which my grandmother was well informed. She, however, always brought us cactus cooler when she would visit….this was never a problem for my parents, and us being children, not allowed to drink soda this was such a special treat.

  10. Andrew says:

    Grew up outside of Tucson. Drank this all the time….how I miss it! Maybe one day they’ll bring it to South Dakota….

  11. NC says:

    My boyfriend grew up on this drink in Arizona. We just came back from a trip to Yosemite and found it in a Target in Fresno, CA. The cashier said she had never heard of it before working at that Target. He was so happy…I’ve found a place online that sells it, may have to buy 2-3 packs to surprise him.

  12. Bill Long says:

    It was originally a Canada Dry product.

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