Yipes! Stripes!! It’s Sour Bites!!

Today I’m going to cover a wonderful little product that was produced by the Beech-Nut company from the mid-1960’s likely until the early 80’s:  Sour Bites.

Sour Bites were a bit like Sweetarts, though they incorporated fun animal mascots onto their packaging and even the candy itself.  Offered in foil packages, just like the Sweetarts of the day, they were originally available in single-flavors as well as assorted variety.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to track down a vintage Sour Bites package, so today I must rely on the scattered bits of reference that have been turned up over the years.

A washed out film reel of an original 1960’s Sour Bites TV commercial has been online for a few years, and within it, you can see a couple of the different single-flavor packs.  Each one sported a different animal.

Sour Bites commercial shot – Sour Bites with horses?

Sour Bites commercial frame – Sour Bites with mice?

I have to wonder how many variety of foil packs they produced back then?  They show a candy piece with an elephant mascot on one, so I would guess that was another of the animals.

Here’s a small bit of Sour Bites signage from the 1960’s:

Beech-Nut – Sour Bites – small plastic sign – 1960’s – Courtesy Dan Goodsell

The “Yipes! Stripes!!” call-out slogan was used by Beech-Nut for another of their products, likely before the introduction of Sour Bites, but maybe concurrently.  You can see it used here on a cardboard shelf-talker for Fruit Stripe Gum:

Beech-Nut – Fruit Stripe Gum – Yipes Stripes die-cut shelf talker file copy – 1960’s

Later on, Sour Bites would make a guest appearance in multi-packs of Fruit Stripe gum, as you can see here:

Beech-Nut – Fruit Stripe gum multi-pack with Free Sour Bites pack – mid-1970’s – Courtesy Dan Goodsell

So it would seem that Fruit Stripe Gum and Sour Bites were somewhat connected through much of Sour Bites lifespan.  Sour Bites animal mascots were always striped, so I wonder if that’s where the Fruit Stripe Zebra got his look?

By the 1970’s, it would seem that the single-flavor packs of Sour Bites were done away with, in favor of the assorted packs.  Here’s a trade ad from the 1970’s, highlighting a “new vend pack” for Sour Bites:

Beech-Nut Sour Bites – 1976 Vending Trade ad

Here’s the vend pack, isolated for detail:

Beech-Nut – Sour Bites vending package – 1976

From the images I’ve been able to track down, I’ve determined that the non-vending packs in the late 70’s were a less-rectangular affair.  Here’s a trade ad from 1977 featuring a shelf full of vintage candy goodness.  I’ve highlighted the very tiny bit of the image that shows Sour Bites:

Life Savers Display setup featuring Sour Bites – trade magazine ad – October 1977

For a much better look at this late-run version of Sour Bites packaging, here’s a clipping from an early 80’s candy dealer catalog:

Beech Nut – Sour Bites – catalog mention – Early 80’s – Courtesy Dan Goodsell

The lion mascot appears to have always represented the assorted Sour Bites variety, and I think he’s pretty appealing.  Here’s a shelf-tag sticker, likely from the 1970’s, featuring the colorful cat:

Beech-Nut – Sour Bites shelf sticker – 1970’s

And that’s really everything I’ve got for Sour Bites.  If anyone out there finds something I don’t have or has an actual Sour Bites package, please get in touch, as I’d love to include more about this brand in a future post.

At the top of today’s piece, I teased a bit about a 1960’s TV commercial for Sour Bites.  Here it is:

And that’s everything for today’s post.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at the wonderful forgotten treat that was Sour Bites.  See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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18 Responses to Yipes! Stripes!! It’s Sour Bites!!

  1. Dan says:

    The original mascots of Fruit Stripe gum were the elephant, mouse, horse and tiger. So they were used as the mascots for Sour Bites. Fruite Stripe gum would then take on the zebra as their mascot but the original 4 remained active on the Sour Bites candies.

  2. Amy Fischer says:

    Thanks for posting all of your information regarding Sour Bites. This was my FAVORITE candy and was extremely distraught when I saw them go on sale in the early 80s. I used to buy the entire box at the store and cherish them. They were the best! When I moved to NYC I saw that they had sold the trademark to Pillsbury and they no longer made them. Made me incredibly sad. Hope someone decides to manufacture them again! At least Regal Crown Sours are coming back!

  3. Nostalgia Nick says:

    Thanks for posting this. I remember enjoying this treat, but I just could not remember the name of it. I could picture the candy and the wrapper, though. I also could “taste” the product in my mind. This may be confabulation on my part, but the taste was more tart than sweet. The bites indeed were sour. It’s great to put a label and a picture to my fond recollection. The tip of my tongue became numb after my hundredth failed attempt to recall the name of this candy, so your blog post was a life saver.

  4. Kris in Georgia says:

    I have been racking my brain for years trying to figure out the name of this wonderful candy with what I remembered to be a tiger on the front of the foil package! I loved these “sours” as a child!! I believe that they trigger the most nostalgic and fond memories of my youth. I cannot say enough and I hope that these candies will be brought back in the style Jake for him just as so many other candies have been. Can we all get together and send letters to beech nut or Lifesavers?

  5. Wax Frog says:

    I have such a horrible craving for these right now 🙁

  6. Patrick Donley says:

    My grandmother used to buy me a sealed box of these every year for my birthday until she passed away in the early 1980’s. Definitely my favorite candy growing up!

  7. Sandra Berg says:

    I could never remember what these are called sour bites oh how I miss these

  8. Donna Stith says:

    I too have been trying for years to remember the name of these candies. I really wish they would bring them back. They could market them at zoos.

  9. tracy says:

    I want some so badly and when I saw the package…I was like omg!!!!!That’s it!!!!! That’s the candy I rode my bike to the Pig for on my blue banana seat bike. I want to buy some so very much:((((

    • Kim Bennett says:

      I want them too!!! Been looking since 1980 when I found a whole box at a gas station and hoarded them as long as possible. I love the layered colors. Who is willing to spearhead an effort to bring them back?
      If people are still looking for them 30 or 40 years after they are gone, how much new interest could possibly be sparked.

      Do we have enough interest to start a petition, or are we just the precious few who know a good thing when it’s gone?

  10. Patty says:

    Brings back great memories! Wish they would be back, in the original formula!

  11. Roy says:

    I’m with Tracy on this one…in the late 1960’s, I also rode my bike with a banana seat, high handlebars and knobby tires to “Jake’s”, a convenience store a couple miles from my house to buy packs of Sour Bites…THE best candy EVER!

    BRING BACK SOUR BITES…and with the original recipe!

  12. Teresa Lewis says:

    I have searched hi and low for tiger bites. This was my most favorite candy growing up. I even knocked off a vending machine at school in elementary just to take all the tiger bites. If only they would bring these back.. they were sooooooo good ❤️

  13. Mike says:

    To all of the previous commenters regarding Sour Bites; I am the ALL-TIME, #1 FAN of SOUR BITES! I cannot understand why whichever company owns the trademark and the original recipe has not reintroduced these undeniably tasty morsels. I wish they’d bring these back ASAP in buckets. I’d buy them all! And after my recovery, I’d start all over again!

  14. Pth says:

    If I knew the recipe, I would go ahead and start a new sour bites candy company!

  15. Dennis Faulkner says:

    I would love to see these come back – and would like to know how they “failed” in the marketplace? Such a great candy, great packaging –

  16. Claire B says:

    SOUR BITES were my favorite. Thought about them the othet fay when I was eatong SWEETARTS that say “ORIGINAL Flavors”- BS- The Green are now Apple vs. Lime and there are no orange. That got me thinking about orange Sour Bites and the other great flavors. Dang Id love to have sour Bites again!

  17. John Bender says:

    No one Earth seems to remember this but me – but I do remember and this was real! For about a year in the 1960s (or less) I was in love with and addicted to a cinnamon candy called “Hot Bites”. They were dry tablets, like a big chewable aspirin, and were spicy. They came in a bag like “Sour Bites”. They were pink / red in color. There was a red cartoon animal on the bag that I think was a horse or a pony. I once ate so many I got sick! I still remember how good they were and it’s almost 60 years later!

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