Babycham

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Babycham
Babycham fawn SheptonMallet.jpg
Babycham trademark deer[1] outside the factory in Shepton Mallet
Type Perry, alcoholic drink
Distributor Accolade Wines
Country of origin United Kingdom
Related products Champagne, sparkling wine

Babycham is the trade name of a light, sparkling perry invented by Francis Showering, a brewer in Shepton Mallet in Somerset, England; the name is now owned by Accolade Wines. The brand was particularly popular during the 1960s and 1970s.[2]

History[edit]

Perry had not been a popular drink for some time but when Francis Showering submitted his new drink to the Three Counties Agricultural Show and other agricultural shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s it won prizes. It was initially called "baby champ" which later became Babycham.[3]

Launched in the United Kingdom in 1953,[4] Babycham was the first alcoholic product to be advertised on British commercial television, the campaign being launched in 1957, with the drink originally marketed as a "genuine champagne perry".[5] It was the first alcoholic drink aimed specifically at women and used the catchphrase "I'd Love a Babycham".[6]

In 1965, the Babycham Company sued the food writer Raymond Postgate, founder of the Good Food Guide, for an article in Holiday magazine in which he warned readers against Babycham, which "looks like champagne and is served in champagne glasses [but] is made of pears". The company sued for libel, claiming the article implied it was dishonestly passing off Babycham as champagne. The judge in his summation stated that the article was defamatory, but that the jury could consider it as "fair comment" rather than a factual statement. The jury found for Postgate, and he was awarded costs.[7]

During the 1960s Showerings stopped brewing beer to concentrate on cider and perry. Production of babycham went from 300 dozen bottles an hour to 2,800. At the peak in 1976 12,000 dozen bottles were being produced each hour. To supply the production line perry pears were planted in Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Hereford. Until suitable trees could be grown locally pear juice was imported from Switzerland.[8] The profits helped to pay for the landscaping of the gardens at the company's headquarters at Kilver Court.[9]

In 1978, the Babycham company was sued by French Champagne producers for abuse of their trade name. The case (H P Bulmer Ltd and Showerings Ltd v J Bollinger SA [1978] RPC 79) hinged on the fact that Babycham had been described in advertising as ‘champagne perry’ or ‘champagne cider’. Champagne producers were litigating to protect their goodwill but because there would not actually be confusion, they were unsuccessful.[10]

The brand's appeal waned with the rise of cheaply available alternatives and a tightening up of the regulations governing alcohol advertising on television. 1996 saw a major relaunch of the brand and the reintroduction of the chamois mascot, a giant model of which can be seen outside the Shepton Mallet factory where the drink is produced. 1997 saw the reintroduction of Babycham Babe beauty contests that had been popular in the 1960s. The iconic 'Babycham' logo was designed and created by John Emperor of CDP (Collett Dickenson Pearce) which was a well-known advertising company in London.[11]

The Showerings company was bought out in the 1990s and with it the Babycham brand, but the sons of the original Showerings founders went on to produce Brothers Cider.[12]

In the 2000s[edit]

During 2011 sales were reported to be increasing, with approximately 15 million bottles sold each year.[13][14]

In 2013 a trademark dispute between Accolade Wines and the Cath Kidston home furnishings company was taken to the High Court.[15][16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.babycham.com/history
  2. ^ "How Babycham changed British drinking habits". BBC News. 23 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Davis, Fred (1995). The Anglo / The History of the Anglo Bavarian Brewery Shepton Mallet 1864 - 1994. Haskins. pp. 104–106. ASIN B000S36AQM. 
  4. ^ "Babycham Collectables". Miller's antiques and collectables. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Norman, Philip (May 2004). Babycham Night: A Boyhood at the End of the Pier (Extract: The Way We Drank — Babycham). Pan Books. ISBN 0-330-48056-1. 
  6. ^ Davis, Fred (1995). The Anglo / The History of the Anglo Bavarian Brewery Shepton Mallet 1864 - 1994. Haskins. p. 106. ASIN B000S36AQM. 
  7. ^ Law Reports, Oct 30, Nov 2, Nov 4, 1965, The Times Digital Archive
  8. ^ Davis, Fred (1995). The Anglo / The History of the Anglo Bavarian Brewery Shepton Mallet 1864 - 1994. Haskins. pp. 108–113. ASIN B000S36AQM. 
  9. ^ Davis, Fred (1995). The Anglo / The History of the Anglo Bavarian Brewery Shepton Mallet 1864 - 1994. Haskins. pp. 115–116. ASIN B000S36AQM. 
  10. ^ Users.on.net
  11. ^ "Babycham Sparkling Perry". Diffords Guide. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  12. ^ Davis, Fred (1995). The Anglo / The History of the Anglo Bavarian Brewery Shepton Mallet 1864 - 1994. Haskins. pp. 120–123. ASIN B000S36AQM. 
  13. ^ Beckett, Fiona (1 November 2011). "Why is Babycham popular again?". The Guardian. London, England. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  14. ^ Kerslake, Ross. "Blast from the perry past: Babycham". The Drinks Business. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  15. ^ "Babycham In Cath Kidston Logo Legal Battle". Sky News. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  16. ^ "Babycham sues Cath Kidston over leaping baby deer logo". Telegraph. London. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 
  17. ^ "Babycham logo row could cost fashion firm Cath Kidston deer". Western Daily Press. 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013. 

External links[edit]