Grapico was first produced by J. Grossman's Sons in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1914. As part of their initial marketing strategy, the company hired songwriters Peter DeRose and Ivan Reid to compose a ballad about the drink, which was entitled Meet Me in the Land of Grapico, with sheet music distributed freely by the company.
Raymond Rochell in Birmingham was the first bottler to buy Grossman's Grapico syrup wholesale, beginning in the summer of 1917. Other bottlers established themselves in Mississippi and Louisiana. He formally incorporated his company as the Grapico Bottling Works in 1920. When a Mississippi competitor dissolved in the face of a lawsuit over a bottle which had been contaminated with flies, Rochell became that state's sole supplier.
Grossman's Sons' syrup business was sold to the Pan-American Manufacturing Company of New Orleans in May 1926. That company took over bottling in Louisiana, but continued to sell concentrated syrup to Rochell's bottling works and a few other wholesale customers in other states.
A 1929 Federal Trade Commission ruling stripped Pan-American of the rights to the Grapico name, finding that it used misleading advertisements to imply that the drink contained actual grape juice. Rochell's bottling works, considered to have been victims of Pan-American's dishonest marketing, took over the production and distribution of Grapico throughout its range in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The company diversified with other soft drinks bottled and distributed under license. By 1938 Rochell's company was doing business as the Orange Crush 7-Up Bottling Company. Rochell took official ownership of the Grapico trademark in 1940 and established the Grapico Company of America, with offices at 1031 11th Avenue North and began pursuing nationwide distribution, but those efforts bore little fruit. By 1953 the company was operating as the Orange Crush-Grapico Bottling Company, which it shortened to the Orange Crush Grapico Company in July 1957.
In 1955 the Grapico company introduced a sister product, Orangico, which did contain real orange juice. The product did not sell well and was discontinued shortly after.
The Grapico franchise was sold to Buffalo Rock in September 1981. They continued distributing the soda in Alabama, Florida and Georgia through 1988, at which time they re-launched the brand with a new logo and can design and expanded to much of the Southern U. S.
The actual syrup is now produced by the company's Sun Fresh Beverages subsidiary in Columbus, Georgia. Buffalo Rock revived the Orangico name for an artificially-flavored soda in 1999 and introduced Diet Grapico in 2005.
- Hornibrook, E. J. (July 5, 1929) In re Pan-American Mfg. Co., Inc. Federal Trade Commission. p. 87
- "Pepsi-Cola Bottling of Newnan, Ga has been acquired by Buffalo Rock." (September 1981) Beverage World, p. 16.
- "Soft Drinks: New logo portends big plans for Grapico." Beverage World (August 1988) Page 10
- "Grapico Carbonated Grape Drink. Manufacturer: Buffalo Rock Co. Category: Miscellaneous Soft Drinks." (September 12, 1988) ProductScan. Vol. 18, No. 37
- "Grapico." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 8 Sep 2008, 21:15 UTC. 7 Oct 2008 .
- "Birmingham's O2 ideas gives Grapico 'new retro' look" (April 6, 2011) Birmingham News
- Grapico at Buffalo Rock's website