From Shamrock Shakes to Peeps – a look at the most successful cult holiday products

Alongside the green-tinted beers and Irish soda bread that’ll be consumed today by Irish and not-so Irish Americans, you can expect to see a familiar minty-green face: the Shamrock Shake. A seasonal calorie bomb from McDonald’s, the Shamrock Shake is wildly popular and quite elusive, as no McDonald’s is required to carry it. The shake has garnered a cult-like following; more than 60 million have been sold since 1970, according to Fox News.

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After learning about the Shamrock Shake’s success, I wondered: what were some other successful products that make our holidays a little brighter (or more commercialized, whichever you prefer)?

Starbucks Red Cup

Aside from controversy in recent years, Starbucks’ red cups are the darlings of Instagram when they’re rolled out every year during the beginning of November. Conceived in 1997, the cheery coffee cups mark the official start of the holiday season for many, and their ever-growing popularity has an incredibly positive financial impact. In Q1 of 2016, Starbucks posted a sales increase of 9 percent. Now why correlation doesn’t necessarily equate to causation here, the impact of red cups can be easily measured other ways: just head to Instagram anytime between November – February.
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While my personal preference is to run as far away from the yellow baby chicken-shaped fluff as I can, I’m definitely in the minority. Americans consume more than 1.5 billion peeps each Easter season, making them the most popular non-chocolate spring treat.

Beaujolais Nouveau

For years, Thanksgiving tables weren’t complete without a colorfully labeled bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges Duboeuf. A red wine made from Gamay grapes and produced in the Beaujolais region of France, it’s the first wine of the harvest and fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November. While the wine’s popularity has been waning in recent years, getting hold of a bottle became an annual event around the world, with teams racing to from France to get cases of the wine to international markets. Sales peaked in the 1980’s and have been decreasing ever since; however, Beaujolais Nouveau still remains a cult classic for our most gluttonous holiday.


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