Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Amber Lights: Blackcurrants from Courier Country farms play their part in global drink company

Post Thumbnail

It is remarkable how in the world of drink, alcoholic or otherwise, the tentacles of the world’s biggest firms reach into unlikely corners.

Let’s take Beam Suntory. They are the world’s third largest spirits firm after Diageo and Pernod-Ricard, combining Suntory, Japan’s biggest whisky maker, with Jim Beam, another drinks giant hived off from Fortune Brands in 2014. Their brands portfolio is to drool over.

In Scotland they have five distilleries—Bowmore and Laphroaig on Islay, Ardmore and Glen Garioch in Aberdeenshire, and Auchentoshan, west of Glasgow—and Teacher’s blended Scotch; also countless bourbons including Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Knob Creek; Ireland’s Cooley whiskies; Canadian Club; Courvoisier Cognac; various vodkas include Pinnacle, VOX and Wolfschmidt; many gins including Gilbey’s, Sipsmith and Larios; and a liqueur list including Aftershock and Sourz.

However, two household name you would never associate with Suntory are Ribena and Lucozade—and quite a few others such as Orangina. Yet Suntory (the holding company is in Osaka, Beam Suntory’s HQ is in Chicago) acquired Ribena and Lucozade in 2013 from GlaxoSmithKline, who were shedding their drinks division to concentrate on pharmaceuticals.

Famously based on blackcurrants, the drink was first made in the 1930s in Bristol and, during the Second World War, the government took its entire output and distributed it free, in unlabelled bottles, to children to ensure they got enough Vitamin C during the conflict.

Brian Townsend.

In 1947, production moved to Coleford, in the Forest of Dean near the Welsh border, and in 1955 Ribena was bought by Beecham’s, which over decades of mergers became part of GlaxoSmithKilne.

Today Ribena gets its blackcurrants from 47 supplier farms, including four in Scotland (three in Strathmore, one near Dundee).

The fresh-picked fruit is trucked overnight to cider makers Thatchers near Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, who crush the fruit, then send tankerloads of pulpy juice to Coleford.

At the plant, the juice is filtered and treated and finally bottled as Ribena (its name derived from the Latin ribes nigra) which is seen on shelves in every supermarket and grocers, but certainly not on the whisky shelves.

It may seem astonishing that Suntory owns Ribena and Lucozade, but Suntory has its fingers in many pies—for instance, it owns the Subway sandwich shop chain in Japan.

Read more

Raise a glass to the unseen spirits and ghostly presences roaming certain Scottish distilleries

Amber Lights: American whiskies – what does bourbon actually mean?

Already a subscriber? Sign in



More from The Courier Food & Drink team

More from The Courier