The servos, delis and bakeries in the eastern border towns of Pinnaroo, Bordertown and Yamba were always well stocked with South Australia’s flavoured milk of choice, Farmers Union Iced Coffee.
Homesick, car-weary South Australians, returning home for Christmas via the badlands of New South Wales and Victoria, would pine for their first taste of the sweet, milky nectar. As a rite of passage back to the promised land they would never fail to neck a 600ml carton at the nearest retail outlet over the border.
This ritual continued until the rest of Australia came to realise what South Australians had known for a long time: that Farmers Union Iced Coffee was unrivalled in the quality stakes and indisputably Australia’s finest milk drink. Big M? Not a chance. Moove. Nup. Dare. What sort of name is that for a milk drink?
Retaining its classic blue-brown carton design, and much to the delight of expatriate South Australians, the Farmers Union blend of milk, coffee, chicory and caramel became available in all Australian states and territories. No longer was it necessary for South Australians to undertake the pilgrimage back home to enjoy a FUIC.
Farmers Union Iced Coffee outsells Coca-Cola
First sold in 1977, Farmers Union Iced Coffee is so popular in its state of origin that it outsells Coca-Cola (in fact the ratio was 3:1 in 2008), making it the only place in the world where a milk drink outsells a cola product.
Its popularity has also spawned several variations in its home state – early-rising tradies routinely get their morning caffeine fix with Farmers Union Strong Iced Coffee, which contains 24mg of caffeine per 100ml compared to 18mg in the original.
The popularity of Farmers Union has also seen the production of square-based insulated ‘stubbie’ coolers – although there is no truth to the rumour that Holden’s demise in South Australia was due to the installation of square – rather than round – cup holders in their range of cars.
Incidentally, Farmers Union Iced Coffee is no longer the product of a South Australian cooperative: it’s manufactured and distributed by the same company that makes the three inferior iced coffees mentioned earlier in this post. They should do themselves a favour and adopt the same recipe across their entire range.