My mother-in-law keeps everything. Well, almost. Turns out this “Beep For Breakfast” cup that belonged to my husband during his childhood holds more than drink. It contains some quirky trivia, too. Unbeknownst to me, Beep was a fruit-juice-based drink made by Farmers Cooperative Dairy in Canada. Somewhere along the line, U.S. distributors in some states sold the product as well. So, in Spokane, customers like my husband’s mother bought the “Beep” product from the Early Dawn Dairy, once one of the area’s largest distributors of dairy products.
My husband thinks he was around age 6 when he used the cup, which puts the time frame around 1965. Family lore claims the cheerful yellow cup came as a gift from the dairy when you bought the drink, apparently most popular during the 1960s. When we showed pictures of the cup to friends in Spokane recently, they also remembered using one, and its image brought a round of memories.
“It was a yummy breakfast drink in a fun cup, with a cool logo,” my husband echoed.
Author Florence Boutwell’s book, “The Spokane Valley Volume 2: A History of the Growing Years 1921-1945,” traces the history of Early Dawn from 1923 to 1978, when the business sold to Consolidated Dairies (Darigold). The farm started as 10 acres at Best Road and 24th, and at one point, it covered 80 acres until yielding to the Spokane Valley subdivisions of today.
Some of us remember that dairies once delivered milk and other dairy products to customers who kept an insulated cooler somewhere near the front door of a home. Apparently, those carriers once brought Beep cheer as well. The Beep carton’s list of ingredients included water, sugar, fruit juices, citric acid, orange pulp, natural flavors, sodium citrate, canola oil, modified corn starch, sodium benzoate, caramel color, annatto, and ascorbic acid. The fruit juices were orange, apple, apricot, prune, and pineapple.
Farmers Cooperative Dairy discontinued Beep in 2010, but it had vanished long before that from the Inland Northwest. While Farmers briefly brought Beep back for nostalgic customers in Canada during 2012, the peeps on Beep have since ceased (sorry, couldn’t help it). We could sell the Beep cup on eBay, where I saw that others have sold quickly, but I think we’ll keep it as a memory.
Question: How many businesses today give away small tokens to customers with purchases other than a few pens or refrigerator magnets? Perhaps the practice of giveaways has fallen out of favor in modern circles that rely more on word-of-mouth endorsements on social media. Not sure I’ve seen much beyond pens, so we’ll definitely hold onto the cup.