After Squeezits became popular in the '80s and '90s, it wasn't long before copycats started appearing. One such lookalike was Kool-Aid Bursts, created by one of our favorite powdered, sugary drink companies. While Sqeezits eventually disappeared, Kool-Aid Bursts proved to have staying power and are still sold in flavors including tropical punch, cherry, grape, and berry blue. But there's one state where you will not find Kool-Aid Bursts — Maine — and no one seems to know why.
With consumers and Kool-Aid fans left to figure out the answer on their own, there has been quite a bit of speculation. "Apparently there is a sugary drink tax in Maine, so Kool-Aid is not allowed in the state due to the high tax rate," theorized one Redditor. But that explanation didn't make sense to many; one commenter pointed out that Kool-Aid itself is available in Maine — just so long as it's not in its Burst form.
Another Redditor jumped on another thread to explain the very plausible reason, which has nothing to do with a sugary tax and everything to do with Maine's container recycling laws. "As Kool-Aid bursts have [molded] plastic that is not resealable, that is designed to be completely detached from the container, and is to be opened by hand, the containers are illegal," they said. With neither Kool-Aid nor the state of Maine commenting on the subject, this definitely sounds like a logical reason for the sugary drink's absence.
Kool-Aid first introduced its Kool-Aid Bursts as Kool Bursts in 1990. They came in plastic bottles with twist-off lids, but at some point, the lids became much larger with flaps. "Since every kid I knew (myself included) would use their teeth to twist open the cap, the design proved to be a pretty bad choking hazard," recalled one Redditor. "So they updated the twist-off caps to have those big old flaps on the sides." It's unclear when the caps changed, but according to WCYY, people have been posting photos of Kool-Aid Bursts with the "Not for sale in Maine" label since at least 2017.
If Kool-Aids Bursts are banned in Maine due to the unsealable plastic caps, it wouldn't be surprising given the state is a strong proponent of recycling and sustainable packaging. Governor Janet Mills signed a bill in 2019 to ban the use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) food and beverage containers and signed another bill a few months later that banned all single-use plastic bags. In 2021, she signed a law that will make companies that make products containing plastic help pay for the cost of Maine's recycling and garbage programs. Most recently, Governor Mills signed an emergency law to help update the state's bottle redemption centers, which had been struggling due to rising costs and inflation.