It’s all about Ribena!

Aug 24, 2022



If you think about blackcurrants, you’ll instantly think, Ribena. It’s not surprising, considering that 90% of the UK’s crop goes into that distinctive, ‘Ribenary’ taste.


 Where did it all begin?

Ribena was invented in 1938. The first drink of its kind, it was originally marketed as a free vitamin C source for children and pregnant women during the first world war. Over time, it became the drink everyone knows and loves in its various varieties – cordial, ready-to-drink, and sparkling.


The blackcurrant season is short and sweet – much like the berries themselves. In the past, before the machinery we use today, whole communities would come together to painstakingly harvest the berries to ensure they reached Ribena’s factory in their best possible condition.
Today, the process is far more streamlined! There are a total of 35 Great British growers, who have refined the blackcurrant growing process over generations to ensure efficient, sustainable farming practices, with a joint mission of leaving the ground better than they found it.


How 35 growers grow blackcurrants for Ribena

Both The Blackcurrant Foundation and Ribena are committed to sustainability in farming. All 35 growers who grow for Ribena protect their 9 000 hectares of farmland and the flora and fauna within them, using a 6-point sustainability plan.


  1. Hedgerows line their fields. They protect the crops from wind damage while providing habitats and nutrients for vital insects and wildlife. Every hedgerow is undisturbed for two years before trimming.
  2. Grass margins: Our growers leave 2-metre grass buffers between boundaries. They’re the perfect environment for insects to lay eggs in the wintertime, ready to help protect the crop pests in Spring. They also protect the earth, preventing soil erosion over time.
  3. Grass headlands: Like the margins, our headlands are no-mow zones. They’re like miniature meadows, the perfect refuge for brown hares and partridges.
  4. Nesting boxes: Next boxes line our fields, giving local bird populations prime locations to raise their young. Come springtime there’s a rich food supply from crop pests and other wildlife and plants.
  5. Wildflower planting: Planting wildflower seeds across our farmlands ensures biodiversity.
  6. Tree planting and maintenance: We keep our machinery clear of trees and hedgerows, minimising the disruption and damage to the ground around them. 
Head to our blog all about our 6-point plan for more information about our sustainable farming practices.


The bush to bottle journey

A blackcurrant bush doesn’t reach maturity (the ability to bear fruit) for three years. Ninety-two days after the first blackcurrant flower blooms in May, the harvesting season begins. Once the harvest begins, a blackcurrant’s journey from bush to bottle is swift.
In July, machines hug and shake the bushes and collect the berries, while our growers and their team quality check the crop and remove any debris. Then within 24 hours of picking, the berries are delivered to Thatchers in Somerset for pressing, before the juice is sent to Ribena’s Gloucestershire factory to be stored until it’s ready for bottling.


Read more about the bush to bottle journey here.




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