Home Pop Culture Food & Drink Ribena


The soft drink equivalent of penicillin, Ribena was accidentally created when Dr Vernon Charley was investigating processing techniques to create fruit syrups for milkshakes at the Long Ashton Agriculture and Horticulture Research Station in Bristol.

Having managed to create a blackcurrant cordial with high levels of vitamin C instead, production was taken on by local manufacturers HW Carter in 1936.

Fresh fruit being hard to come by in Britain during WWII thanks to a blockade by German U-boats, Ribena earned the encouragement of the British government and its place in the nation’s kitchens.

A series of scandals in the 2000s, concerning vitamin C levels, sugar levels, and the amounts of actual fruit in some of the brands, damaged its reputation as a healthy product.

By 2013, the brand was widely regarded as a soft drink.

Of course, it’s available as a fizzy drink now and proudly wears its ability to prevent scurvy as a badge of pride.