1955 Orchy orange juice

Orchy Orange Juice was first released in 1955. Instead of the cooked taste of canned orange juice, Orchy tasted like freshly squeezed juice. It was the first “fresh squeezed” orange juice and the first time orange juice was available from the chilled cabinet.

For a long time, the orange juice you could buy in the supermarket didn’t taste anything like the orange juice you squeezed yourself. It came in tins and the cooking and canning process affected the taste. The only advantage was that it could be kept on the shelf without refrigeration – a plus back in the time when refrigerators were just beginning to appear in the average suburban home.

In 1955, inspired by technology developed in America, United Dairies release Orchy Orange Juice. It came from the chilled cabinet and didn’t have the shelf-life of canned juice, but it actually tasted freshly squeezed. Other brands followed.  The development of chilled juice revolutionised the industry and made fruit juice a staple in nearly every household fridge – mostly in the family-size two-litre containers.

Fruit juices today are either made from concentrate or are known as NFC (not from concentrate). Juice is generally flash-pasteurised for safety. The advent of aseptic packaging and UHT (Ultra High Temperature) processes eventually allowed a better-tasting orange juice to be stored and sold without refrigeration.  Orchy, for example,  produces a range of preservative-free fruit juice products which can be stored without refrigeration. As long as the lid is not removed, these juices will keep for up to twelve months from manufacture. This is made possible by being pasteurised for a longer period than refrigerated products. This process is called hot fill packaging. Once the lid is removed the product is open to the air and must be refrigerated.

Orchy orange juice – the inside story

The following information came from Orchy’s Larry Etherington:

The two principals of what was then United Dairies in Sydney (Doug Lindsey and Harold Woods) returned to Sydney after a trip to the USA in about 1953. They had seen the production of orange juice in San Francisco and this juice being retailed in single-serve bottles. It was a big success in the USA at the time.

Against a lot of opposition from their Board of Directors, United Dairies started producing orange juice. Most of the raw product was sourced from around the Gosford area which was then a big citrus growing area. The United Dairies Board came up with the name “Orchy” and it proved to be very successful. So much so that the big player in the citrus industry at the time, Keith Harris Pty Ltd, a Gosford-based company, made an offer to buy the Orchy business from United Dairies.

United Dairies was going through a very big growth stage with milk at the time so it was a timely offer. Keith Harris developed the juice and citrus flavouring business, opening agencies in a large number of provincial towns and cities in Australia, the South Pacific and several Asian countries. They also developing a production plant in Griffith.

The Milne family who owned Soul Pattinson Pharmaceuticals and Brickworks P/L bought Keith Harris P/L. They traded for a short time and in 2004 Bevco P/L bought the Orchy business from Soul Pattinson.

Bevco is an Australian-owned family company based in Mudgee, NSW.

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