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Drinking HistoryFifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages$
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Andrew Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231151177

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231151177.001.0001

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Unfermented Wine

Unfermented Wine

(p.141) 9 Unfermented Wine
Drinking History

Andrew F. Smith

Columbia University Press

This chapter traces the development of the American fruit juice industry. Fruit juice was so closely associated with alcohol that temperance advocates opposed making and drinking it. However, this view changed in the mid-nineteenth century when some churchgoing Christian temperance advocates were faced with the problem of celebrating communion without using wine. The idea of “unfermented wine” caught the attention of many temperance advocates, including Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, who had been a Methodist minister, a physician, and a dentist in upstate New York. In 1869, he began a side business producing “unfermented wine for communion purposes” as a service to Methodist ministers who refused to use real wine. After four years without making much profit, Welch gave up his unfermented wine business. In 1875, his son Charles E. Welch restarted making nonalcoholic grape juice on a small scale. As the temperance movement picked up steam in the late nineteenth century, Charles Welch changed the name of his product to Welch’s Grape Juice, and sales increased. He launched a wide-ranging marketing campaign that targeted religious, temperance, and medical publications. In the following decades, advertising expanded to include ads in national magazines such as Collier’s, Red Book, and Good Housekeeping. Other juice makers followed in Welch’s footsteps, and the American fruit juice industry was born.

Keywords:   unfermented wine, grape juice, nonalcoholic beverages, temperance movement, fruit juice industry, Charles E. Welch, Thomas Bramwell Welch, Welch’s Grape Juice

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