Grey Poupon

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For the album by Doap Nixon, see Gray Poupon.
Grey Poupon
Grey Poupon mustard jar
Product type Mustard
Owner Kraft Heinz
Country Dijon, France
Introduced 1866
Markets Worldwide
Previous owners Grey Poupon
Heublein Inc.
RJR Nabisco
Kraft Foods

Grey Poupon is a brand of whole-grain mustard and Dijon mustard which originated in Dijon, France.[1]

The U.S. rights to the brand were acquired by the Heublein Company, later passing on to Kraft Foods. Grey Poupon became popular in the United States in the late 1970s and 1980s as American tastes broadened from conventional American yellow mustards.

Like other Dijon mustards, Grey Poupon contains a small amount of white wine. The American version is made with brown mustard seed grown in Canada.[2]


John Dee, court alchemist and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I, is understood to be the father of Grey Poupon. In 1597, Dee combined distilled vinegar with ground mustard seed and wine in an attempt to create the alkahest, or universal solvent. Dee's work was cut short in 1602 during a siege of Richmond Palace, Surrey, England by a group of Spanish privateers seeking vengeance for the defeat of a Spanish armada by the Royal Navy in 1588. Dee, sensing imminent danger, entrusted the formula to a Paige of Her Majesty's court who ultimately gained passage on a cargo Galleon destined for Spain by bribing a second mate. During the ship's passage, she was attacked by the French Navy on suspicion of tax evasion, and her hull was damaged by cannon fire.[dubious ] Taking on water, the French Navy boarded the ship and ultimately gained custody of the formula after paying the Paige two gold coins to divulge the location of the recipe secreted within the ships quarters. The Paige was ultimately executed by firing squad, and the French Navy presented the mustard formula to King Henry III of France[citation needed]. The King immediately recognized the subtleties and nuance of the mustard and issued a decree declaring the formula a unique property of France and a state secret, to be guarded, with disclosure punishable by penalty of death. The formula was eventually inscribed by a French Monk and was ultimately discovered by Maurice Grey while he was a seminary student at a monastery in Provence.

Maurice Grey was winning medals for his Dijon mustard machine in 1855. In 1860, he was awarded a Royal Appointment. He had developed a machine that dramatically increased the speed of production, but he needed financing, which he obtained in 1866 from Auguste Poupon, another Dijon mustard manufacturer. The Grey Poupon partnership produced their first mustard around 1866 in Dijon, France.[3]

In 1946, the Heublein Company bought the American rights from the original company.

In 1970, the directors of Grey Poupon and of another Dijon mustard firm, André Ricard, having earlier bought the popular Maille-label, formed a conglomerate called S.E.G.M.A. Maille. Soon afterwards, the new company decided to phase out the Grey Poupon label in France. It is still, however, manufactured for export, and a small amount continues to be produced for sale at the historic Maille-Grey-Poupon boutique on the Rue de la Liberté in Dijon itself.

In America, R. J. Reynolds acquired Heublein in 1982 and merged it with Nabisco in 1985 to form RJR Nabisco. In 1999, Kraft Foods acquired Nabisco, including the Grey Poupon brand.

Grey Poupon Dijon and wholegrain mustard is still produced in France for the European market.[4] Production of Grey Poupon for the North America market will move to Holland, Michigan from Pennsylvania, following Kraft Heinz's expansion of its 120-year-old Holland production facility.[5]



Heublein increased the visibility and name recognition of their mustard brand with a 1980s commercial pointing out that "one can enjoy the finer things of life with white wine mustard" without paying high prices, in which a Rolls-Royce pulls up alongside another Rolls-Royce, and a passenger in one asks "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" The other responds, "But of course!" The closing shot is of the Grey Poupon jar being passed between the vehicles. In one variation, the characters are on the Orient Express.[6]

The commercial spawned a number of variations, often comedic; a later version features Ian Richardson asking Paul Eddington if he has any Grey Poupon, to which Eddington replies, "But of course", then motions for his driver to speed away.[7][8] Another commercial included the introduction of a plastic squeeze jar, wherein the jar makes embarrassing noises while extracting the mustard, much to the mortification of the driver.[9]

In 2013, Grey Poupon created a new advertisement, playing upon the 1980s commercial, displaying a duel between the driver who took the Grey Poupon Jar (played by British actor Frazer Douglas) being chased down by the mustard's original owner (played by Rod McCary). The spot was nominated for an Emmy for best commercial.[10]

Brand extensions[edit]

In 2007, Grey Poupon/Kraft company introduced three new specialty mustards: a coarse ground mustard with whole mustard seeds, a spicy brown mustard with diced yellow onions, and a honey mustard with clover honey and spices.

In popular culture[edit]

The "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" commercials have been parodied in many films and TV shows, including Wayne's World (1992), Married... With Children's "Old Insurance Dodge", WWE RAW and Family Guy's "Blue Harvest" (September 23, 2007). The statement was said by Michael J. Fox's character, while preparing to eat a frog dog in the film, "The Hard Way" (1991).

In the 21st episode of the 18th season of the Simpsons, Bart Simpson makes a Poupon graffiti of Principal Skinner.

The Grey Poupon name has been ubiquitous in hip-hop and rap lyrics since 1992, when Das EFX mentioned the brand on their song "East Coast". Artists such as Kanye West and T-Pain reference Grey Poupon on their songs because the brand is easy to rhyme and and it illustrates the status of style, luxury, and class.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bare Barging in Burgundy". 
  2. ^ Remnick, David (2009). Secret Ingredients: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink. Modern Library Inc. p. 365. ISBN 978-0812976410. 
  3. ^ Lee, Laura. The Name's Familiar II. 
  4. ^ "Grey Poupon". My Supermarket. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Pardon me: Grey Poupon's move to Mich. will add jobs". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-05-20. 
  6. ^ Grey Poupon on the Train. YouTube. 5 October 2007. 
  7. ^ Grey Poupon "Son Of Rolls" 30 Sec Commercial. YouTube. 9 February 2007. 
  8. ^ Mail, Sharon (2009). We Could Possibly Comment: Ian Richardson Remembered. Leicester: Troubadour Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84876-184-1. 
  9. ^ Grey Poupon Squeeze. YouTube. 5 October 2007. 
  10. ^ "Ads Up For Emmy For Best Commercial - Business Insider". Business Insider. 18 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Caswell, Estelle; Frostenson, Sarah (12 October 2016). "How Grey Poupon became hip-hop's favorite condiment". Vox Media. Retrieved 12 October 2016. 

External links[edit]