In celebration of its 100th birthday, White Castle held a virtual Birthday Bash last night for Craver fans everywhere. The one-of-a-kind event, which was recorded in front of a small audience at White Castle’s home office and streamed live on White Castle’s social media platforms, featured something for everyone. The festivities included celebrity well wishes, a special musical performance, a mixology lesson, the induction of a unique Craver into the Cravers Hall of Fame, and stories and comments from members of the Ingram Family, who have owned and operated White Castle since Billy Ingram founded the business in 1921.
“Turning 100 is a huge milestone, and we definitely wanted to observe the birthday with a festive event fitting of the occasion,” says Jamie Richardson, a vice president at White Castle. “The virtual Birthday Bash was a blast and allowed us to celebrate with thousands of Cravers from across the country.”
Author, entertainer and loyal White Castle friend Jon Petz kicked off the fun-filled evening with welcoming remarks and a magic trick before turning the show over to Mr. Gandy, the famous New York City bartender and long-time White Castle fan. He showed the guests how to make a special Birthday Bash mocktail, Sweet ‘Sitrus’ Slush, using vanilla ice cream and Fanta Craver Party Punch, a specialty mix available only from White Castle’s Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.
White Castle president and CEO Lisa Ingram and her dad Bill, who served as president of the business from 1978 to 2015, both gave remarks, talking about the great connection that family-owned businesses have with their customers and teams.
“Today at White Castle there are 10,000 team members, each of whom is holding up the values our great-grandfather started 100 years ago,” says Ingram, a fourth-generation family member. “This is an exciting time for all of us at White Castle. Sure it’s great turning 100 years, but we are keeping it fresh for the next 100, too.”
Other highlights from the night include:
Celebrity birthday greetings
White Castle felt the birthday love from an assortment of celebrities who appeared via video to offer their well wishes. Actor Kal Penn, who played Kumar in the cult classic “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” movie, sent birthday wishes, as did fashion designer Telfar Clemens, who has designed several iterations of White Castle’s employee uniform. Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, rock star Alice Cooper, Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw, actor/comedian Spice Adams and TV host Adam Richman all provided greetings, as well.
Craver Hall of Fame induction
White Castle will be inducting 12 members into its prestigious Cravers Hall of Fame later this summer. But company officials took advantage of the celebration to induct one very special Craver. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, the hilariously offensive, cigar-smoking canine puppet, was inducted into the Cravers Hall of Fame, becoming the first and only puppet to receive the honor. Triumph, a long-time White Castle fan, was thrilled with the recognition, saying it was truly an honor.
Coca Cola commemorative bottles
White Castle and Coca-Cola have been partners since 1921 when the soda was featured on the very first menu. In recognition of the long-standing partnership, Coca-Cola is releasing a limited edition, 8-ounce glass bottle that celebrates White Castle’s centennial milestone. The celebratory bottle will be sold in six-pack carriers and available in most major retailers across Coca-Cola’s Great Lakes distributing area (IL, IN, MI, MN, TN, WI).
Jim Babjak, co-founder and lead guitarist for The Smithereens, shared some White Castle memorabilia he owns and performed a solo, unplugged version of “White Castle Blues” from his basement. Babjak and his high school friend Bob Banta wrote the song in 1977 as an ode to White Castle and their late-night cravings for White Caste Sliders. The “hamburger song,” as some called it, became a fan favorite at The Smithereens’ concerts.
- Saturday night and it’s gettin’ late
- I’m gettin’ hungry, I just can’t wait
- Not just any kind of burger will do
- I’m being hit by those
- White Castle blues
PUMA partnership announcement
White Castle announced a new partnership with PUMA by sharing behind-the-scenes footage of a collaboration with aftermarket sneaker artist “Mache.” In the video, Mache showed how he created custom hand-painted White Castle Sneakers. The new PUMA x White Castle collection will launch on June 25 at the PUMA NYC flagship store, PUMA.com and across the Foot Locker Inc. family of stores.