In 1911, Clayton J. Howel, president and founder of the Orange Crush Company, partnered with Neil C. Ward and incorporated the company. Ward made the recipe for Orange Crush. Howel was not new to the soft drink business, having earlier introduced Howel’s Orange Julep. Soft drinks of the time often carried the surname of the inventor along with the product name. Howel sold the rights to use his name in conjunction with his first brand; therefore, Ward was given the honors: Crush was first premiered as Ward's Orange Crush. Originally, Orange Crush included orange pulp in the bottles, giving it a "fresh squeezed" illusion even though the pulp was added rather than remaining from squeezed oranges. Pulp has not been in the bottles for decades.
Logo for Ward's Orange Crush, c. 1921
Crush was purchased by Procter & Gamble in 1980 (with the exception of the Canadian rights, which were purchased in 1984). Procter & Gamble only manufactured "bottler's base," which was a concentrate consisting of flavor and color. 1 milliliter of bottler's base was combined with syrup and carbonated water to create a 12-ounce bottle of Crush. In 1989, Cadbury Schweppes acquired Crush USA from Procter & Gamble Co. Cadbury Schweppes spun off its United States beverage business as Dr Pepper Snapple Group in 2008.
Several flavors (Orange, Diet Orange, Grape, Strawberry, Cherry) are available at most stores throughout North America; however, others are distributed only within small markets. Pineapple Crush and Birch Beer Crush, for instance, are relatively easy to obtain in both can and single serving bottle in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador and in Fort McMurray, Alberta. This will soon change, as the Pepsi Bottling Group has recently announced they would begin distributing Crush in a majority of their territory in the United States, followed less than a month later by PepsiAmericas' announcement that they would follow suit in most of their territory. The changeover in distribution became official in late January and early February 2009, with the Pepsi bottlers taking over the Crush rights in those areas and the bottling rights to Hawaiian Punch (which the Pepsi bottlers in those areas had handled prior to 2009) going to the bottlers of Dr Pepper and 7 Up.