The company originated in the early 1900s by Spencer Milton Cottee (ca.1864 – 8 June 1944) who started processing passionfruit in Lismore into the Passiona soft drink brand in 1925-7. A factory was opened in Leichhardt in the 1930s. Cottee was a champion of the dairy industry and advocated efficient use of milk by-products such as casein. Passiona was also bottled in South Australia by Geo. Hall and Sons.
Apart from Passiona, the most popular Cottee's carbonated soft drinks were Tango (orange), and Coola (lime), with other flavours including lemon, cola, and lemonade. The brand's popularity reached its zenith in the 1960s. Cottee's Coola flavour is the most popular cordial in Australia (Coola, Australia's Flavourite Cordial).