Orangina is an iconic name when it comes to sparkling beverages, but few consumers know its fascinating history. It’s beloved by all who enjoy juice-based carbonated beverages, and with good reason; Orangina is delicious. Read on to find out about the history of this popular Sparkling Citrus Drink to discover how it came to be a household staple for millions across the globe.
Orangina was originally developed by a Spanish pharmacist named Dr. Trigo and was presented under the brand name Naranjina in reference to the Spanish word for oranges. It was only upon meeting and partnering with the Frenchman Leon Beton at the 1936 Marseille Trade Fair that Orangina was renamed at Beton’s suggestion. Beton also offered the use of his orchard of orange trees to begin production, and although it was originally conceived of as a medicinal drink, the Sparkling Citrus beverage became popular across pre-independence Algeria.
The rising popularity of Orangina in the 1950s can be attributed largely to Leon Beton’s son Jean Claude, who took over the company after World War II. It was Beton’s idea to turn to the sun and the idea of leisure for inspiration in advertising Orangina. Beton the younger was also responsible for advocating for the bottle’s unusual shape and texture, which made it look like an orange.
Orangina’s first advertisement was produced in 1953. Designed by Bernard Villemot, the poster depicted a sunshade made of an orange peel over a table holding a bottle of Orangina and a glass. This iconic advertisement, combined with a push to take advantage of the rising popularity of television and the fact that Beton ingeniously hired a large group of students to drink Orangina conspicuously in public places, helped to push sales. By 1957, the company was selling 50 million bottles per year. By 1975, it was selling 500 million bottles.
Orangina Meets the World
Orangina was actually introduced in the United States in 1978 under a different brand name. It wasn’t until the company began broadening its reach to international markets in 1984 that it began to catch on, though. The original name was reintroduced in the U.S. in 1985 and, today, Americans and Canadians remain in love with this popular drink.
The year 1985 also marks the first sale of 1.5 L bottles of Orangina and Beton’s decision to sell Orangina to Pernod Ricard, a giant in the beverage industry. Beton retired to Bordeaux, where he continues to work in the wine business, and Orangina began changing hands as its popularity continued to grow.
Orangina in the 21st Century
Orangina’s global owner is Suntory which distributes through it’s groups in over 60 countries across the globe. In North America, Ventures Food and Beverage, a Suntory owned group, recently acquired the rights and relaunched the brand in January 2020. The relaunch included a new formulation, which is actually the original French recipe and imported from Europe. The group also brought back the original bulby glass bottle plus introduced a new slim can and an on the go resealable bottle.