Turkey Hill Iced Tea in L.A.

Those closest to me know that I have an addiction to Turkey Hill Iced Tea. It’s an iced tea made by the Turkey Hill company. Which was born in Lancaster Pennsylvania; just like me. I grew up drinking gallons of the stuff. It’s the best. All other teas are #2 or lower. When it came time to make the move to Los Angeles I knew I couldn’t take the tea with me. It was a local brand. My addiction was coming to an end.

My first week in Los Angeles I walked into the local Ralphs supermarket in search of a THIT substitute. To my chagrin I could not find a gallon of tea of any kind. None. I asked the box boy where they kept them and he laughed, “Why would anyone want a gallon of iced tea?” I murdered him quickly and got the hell out of there. Ralphs be damned. I will have my tea. In this life or the next.


Years laters. After going through countless subpar substitutes I had abandoned hope. My salad was officially tossed.

And then…

TURKEY HILL ICED TEA in Los Angeles!!!

One day I walked into Ralphs and there it was. Staring back at me like an old lover. It had been so long. Would our love still burn bright or had it been extinguished forever? After a bit of awkward conversation I just went for it. It felt so right when it hit my lips. Yes, this is what nature had intended.

They didn’t have gallons. They had half gallons. It would have to do. Soon my refrigerator was choking on it.

Everything was beautiful. Everything was right. (minus global warming, terrorism, disease, war related deaths, and the collapse of the US economy)

And then one day I walked into Ralphs and she was gone. No Turkey Hill Iced Tea. I went to another Ralphs. None. Then another. None. And other. The same. My lover had abandoned me. Weeks had gone by. I talked to the store clerk. When are you going to get more THIT? He said they weren’t selling well enough. Ralphs wasn’t going to carry it anymore.

After some digging I discovered that Turkey Hill is owned by Kroger, which is owned by Ralphs. I promptly wrote all three begging for the return of my tea. Ralphs took a week to respond and their email was the equivalent of spam. Kroger has never written me back. Turkey Hill finally wrote me back after about 10 days. Below you will find our email exchange.

Greetings Turkey Hill,

I’ve recently discovered that Turkey Hill Iced Tea is no longer carried in the Ralphs supermarket here in Los Angeles. At first I rationalized it as a rogue delivery truck driver who knew the value of what he was hauling. Most likely he crossed the Canadian border where he sold half of it for pure profit and is now living like a fat cow in Kamloops, drinking tea and skinning moose. I see no need to pursue this man. However I still need my tea. Fire up a fleet of your finest trucks and bring that sweet opaque brown sugar my way. Maybe hire some protection for this batch. See if Bruce Willis is available. You can pay him in tea.

Thank you.


And this was their response.

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for contacting Turkey Hill Dairy. Naturally, we think Turkey Hill makes great tasting products, but it’s much better to have our consumers let us know they agree.

We are pleased that you enjoy this Turkey Hill product, but disappointed to hear that you have been having trouble locating it. The distribution system can be complex, but let me simplify how it works. The headquarters for each supermarket chain approves exactly which of our lines and flavors their stores may carry, so it varies chain by chain. The Dairy Manager in each store orders from their approved flavor list. Furthermore, these stores all order from distributors, not directly from Turkey Hill, and the distributors also have approved product lines and flavors from which to choose.

Unfortunately, we have no control over which of the approved flavors a store chooses to order, or how many they order. It helps to contact their headquarters.

According to our records your local Ralphs and Food 4 Less are able to carry our Iced Teas. We appreciate your comments and thank you for choosing Turkey Hill.



To which I replied:

Greetings taste master,

After Ralphs stopped carrying my beloved Turkey Hill Iced Tea I thought all hope was lost. I stopped eating. I stopped bathing. Sometimes I just stared at the walls and prayed for death. In a desperate plea I contacted you for help. Surely Los Angeles cannot go without its tea. Thankfully you informed me that Food-4-Less also carries it. There aren’t many of those in L.A. and I had never been inside one before. They look dirty and I always feel like a hobo is going to pop out of dumpster like a goddam jack-in-the-box and stab me. As it just so happens there is a Food-4-Less right around the corner from me.

Indeed they had it. I can once again get my Turkey Hill Iced Tea fix.

I just wanted to thank you. You’ve once again given me a reason to live. Some days I buy so much tea I pour it into a kiddie-pool and soak in it. Marinating. Hoping that we will become one. I dream about a day when I might fight crime and Turkey Hill Iced Tea will be my sidekick. The Robin to my Batman. And when the robots shoot him with their laser rays I’ll drink his Iced Tea blood and become even stronger.

Do unto others.



Feb, 2012

Sadly, within a month after this post the THIT at Food-4-Less disappeared. I knew when they replaced the THIT section with Arnold Palmer that it wasn’t coming back.

Soon after Ralphs began carrying THIT again. Every flavor except the regular. I seriously think Mr. Ralph is fucking with me. So I’m forced to drink the Peach flavor until Ralph gets some goddam sense and carries regular again. Fine. I’ll play your game, Ralph. Peach is a whore; a saucy waitress that talks like a man and has sex in knee-high vinyl boots; but she’s got a sense of humor and she pays the rent on time. It’ll do. …for now. But one day, one day I will be reunited with my one true THIT. (I call it regular instead of lemon flavor – which is what THIT calls it – because we all know lemons are the devil’s playground.)