|Subsidiary of National Grape Cooperative Association|
|Industry||Beverages and Foods|
Vineland, New Jersey
|Founder||Thomas Bramwell Welch|
|Headquarters||Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.|
Niagara Grape juice
National Grape Cooperative Association|
Global Beverage Corporation (soda)
Promotion in Motion, Inc. (fruit snacks)
Welch Foods Inc. (Welch's) is an American company, headquartered in Concord, Massachusetts. It has been owned by the National Grape Cooperative Association, a co-op of grape growers, since 1956. Welch's is particularly known for its grape juices, jams and jellies made from dark Concord grapes and its white Niagara grape juice. The company also manufactures and markets an array of other products, including refrigerated juices, frozen and shelf-stable concentrates, organic grape juice and dried fruit. Welch's has also licensed its name for a line of grape-flavored soft drinks since 1974. Welch's grape and strawberry soda flavors are currently licensed to Global Beverage Corporation. Other popular products that use the Welch's name are the fruit snacks made by The Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc.
In the 1960s, Welch's was a major sponsor of the ABC primetime animated comedy series The Flintstones; its characters were prominently featured in Welch's TV commercials on that show, and on jars of Welch's grape jelly which could be used as a drinking glass after the product had been fully used. In the early 1970s, The Archies cartoon characters were on the jars.
History of Welch's Grape Juice
The method of pasteurizing grape juice to halt the fermentation has been attributed to a British–American physician and dentist, Thomas Bramwell Welch (1825–1903) in 1869. Welch was an adherent to the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion which strongly opposed "manufacturing, buying, selling, or using intoxicating liquors" and advocated the use of unfermented grape juice instead of wine for administering the sacrament of the Eucharist, or communion, during the church service. A few years earlier, Welch had relocated to Vineland, New Jersey, a town started in 1861 by Philadelphia land developer Charles K. Landis (1833–1900) to create his own alcohol-free utopian society, a "Temperance Town" based on agriculture and progressive thinking. Landis declared that he was "about to build a city, and an agricultural and fruit-growing colony around it." The population reached 5,500 by 1865. Landis determined the potential in growing grapes and named the settlement "Vineland", and advertised to attract Italian grape growers to Vineland, offering 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land that had to be cleared and used to grow grapes. Welch had moved to the region following his sister who was one of Vineland's earliest residents and began to produce an "unfermented wine" (grape juice) from locally grown grapes that was marketed as "Dr. Welch's Unfermented Wine". This product became "Welch's Grape Juice" in 1893 when Welch and his son Charles E. Welch (also a practicing dentist) had decided to incorporate in 1893 as the Welch's Grape Juice Company at Westfield, New York. The product was given to visitors at international exhibitions. The oldest extant structure associated with the company is Welch Factory Building No. 1, located at Westfield, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
As the temperance movement grew, so did the popularity of grape juice. In 1913, Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan served grape juice instead of wine during a full-dress diplomatic function, and in 1914, Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy, forbade any alcoholic drinks on board of naval ships, actively replacing them with grape juice. During World War I, the company supplied "grapelade", a type of grape jam, to the military and advertised aggressively. Subsequent development of new grape products and sponsorship of radio and television programs made the company very successful. An advertisement in a journal from the year 1914 states:
Welch's Grape Juice has attained its popular and professional favor through merit alone. This product has been perfected and marketed under the personal direction of the physician whose name it bears and whose purpose from the beginning was to produce a liquid food possessing all the nutrient essentials necessary to metabolism in sickness and convalescence.
Welch's long-time traditional advertising partner is The Via Agency in Portland, Maine and in the Fall of 2016 announced that Jack Morton Worldwide's Genuine group will be handling the mobile, social, and digital media and strategy. The company is looking to reach consumers on digital channels with advertising aimed at informing about Welch's products, ingredients, and the company's long heritage.
Welch's has featured people in their television commercials such as:
- Hays, Constance L. How Too Much Purple Could Mean Less Green. New York Times. April 18, 1999.
- Welch's History
- Hein, Kenneth. Welch's Touts Concord Grape as 'Superfruit'. Adweek. November 17, 2008.
- Edwin McDowell (January 12, 1986). "Faces Behind The Famous Brand Names". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
Dr. Thomas B. Welch, a teetotaling New Jersey dentist, came up with Dr. Welch's Unfermented Wine - later renamed Welch's Grape Juice - to be used as a substitute for wine in church communion service.
- "Farm Group Buys Welch Grape Co. 87-Year-Old Concern Sold for Equivalent of 28.6 Million to Cooperative". New York Times. August 27, 1956. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
- National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Hallett, Anthony; and Hallett, Diane. "Thomas B. Welch, Charles E. Welch" in Entrepreneur Magazine Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs. (John Wiley and Sons, 1997), 481–483; and Haines, Lee M.; and Thomas, Paul William. "A New Denomination" in An Outline History of the Wesleyan Church (4th edition ed.). (Indianapolis, Indiana: Wesley Press, 1990), 68.
- Our People of the Century: Charles K. Landis - Founder of a City, Creator of a Dream Archived June 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. Cumberland County, New Jersey. Accessed January 26, 2013.
- The Founding of Vineland and Its Growth as an Agricultural Center, West Jersey and South Jersey Heritage. Accessed August 28, 2007.
- "Classified Directory of Advertising". The Dietetic and Hygienic Gazette. 30 (1). p. xx. January 1914.
- Stein, Lindsay (November 3, 2016). "Welch's Names Jack Morton's Genuine AOR for Digital Creative, Media". Advertising Age. Retrieved November 3, 2016.
- "Travis Tedford - Welch's Grape Juice Commercial". Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- Laura Q. Hughes (November 27, 2000). "Welch's picks another cute face for TV spots". Advertising Age. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- "Welch Foods Names Spokeschild for National Campaign". Advertising Age. December 4, 2000. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
- "'Memories' Campaign Gives Welch's An Ad Boost 3rd 'Spokeskid' Set For Commercials; Coop Profits Grow". Rocky Mountain News. December 3, 2000. Retrieved February 28, 2017 – via HighBeam Research.
- "Shyann McClure :: Video". Retrieved September 13, 2010.
- "Alton Brown Is Welch's New Spokesman". November 12, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2010.