Nesbitt's was a popular brand of orange-flavored sody pop in the United States during much of the 20th century. Nesbitt's was produced by the Nesbitt Fruit Products Company of Los Angeles, California. The company also produced other flavors of soda pop under the Nesbitt's brand and other brand names.
The Nesbitt's Fruit Products Company was founded in 1924, named after its founder Hugh S. Nesbitt. The Nesbitt's brand debuted in 1927, initially as part of the company's line of soda fountain products. Nesbitt's began bottling Nesbitt's orange in either 1938 or 1939, putting it in direct competition with established market-leader Orange Crush. Nesbitt's became the US market leader of orange soda pop during the late 1940s and 1950s, with advertisements featuring a then-unknown model named Marilyn Monroe (1946) and proclaiming itself to be the "Largest selling bottled orange drink in the world". Nesbitt's own brand of orange beverage was surpassed in popularity by Fanta in the 1960s and faded in popularity. In 1972, the company was sold to The Clorox Company, and in April 1975, the bottling operation was sold to Moxie Industries, Inc. (now Monarch Beverage) of Atlanta.
Resurrection and legacy
Nesbitt's continued to be owned by Moxie Industries through the late 1970s and the 1980s while use of the Nesbitt's brand (for non-bottling usage) was passed along to several companies from 1976 through 1998, including ownership by Borden Inc. in the late 1980s. In 1999, Big Red, Limited of Waco, Texas, the parent company that owns rights to the Big Red soft drink brand, bought the Nesbitt's trademark from the Monarch Beverage Company under its North American Beverages Products division, which also includes NuGrape. Although Big Red, Ltd. only actively promotes its Nesbitt's California Honey Lemonade product, it licenses the brand to several small independent bottling companies.
The group Negativland put out the "Nesbitt's Lime Soda Song" on their 1986 release Escape From Noise; written and sung by Richard Lyons, it was about a man who lost his temper after "a bee flew into" his soda and "we had to throw it away".
- Nesbitt's Orange Memorabilia Page
- Big Red, Ltd. website
- Metropolitan News-Enterprise - Nesbitt’s Orange Soda: Bright Star Went Black, Now Twinkles Dimly from June 8, 2006.