Many of us grew up drinking Tang or Kool-Aid. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Hennepin County residents relied on The Zieve Nectar Company for fruit-flavored drinks that could be made at home. This Zieve’s Fruit Nectar packaging in the Museum’s collection, which includes a four-ounce glass bottle and box, dates to 1925. The company was founded in downtown Minneapolis in 1904 as Twin City Chemical Company. They originally manufactured pharmaceuticals, but this fruit extract concoction proved to be their most successful product. By 1915 they had changed their name to Zieve’s Fruit Nectar Company.
Advertisements for the product ran in local newspapers from 1912 to 1932. With an aggressive marketing campaign and clever slogans, the product enjoyed moderate success. According to the company, the compound was extracted from pure fruit juice and concentrated using a special process, which made it free from artificial ingredients and coloring. The company would develop fourteen flavors, including wild cherry as seen above. One four-ounce bottle like this would produce three gallons of the fruit beverage. The company boasted that this made each glass cost half a cent.
Unfortunately, it is unclear what exactly happened to the company after their last advertisement appeared in the Minneapolis Star in July of 1932. For whatever reason, the company went out of business and the product disappeared. Today, bottles like this are rare. The slogan used by the company for their final advertisement read “Who can resist the zest of Zieve’s?” The answer is, evidently, everyone.
Written by Alyssa Thiede
“A Real Fruit Nectar.” Northwestern Druggist Volume 16, (August 1915): 97.
This publication was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Any views, findings, opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, or the Minnesota Historic Resources Advisory Committee.