Tate & Lyle
Carst and Walker

Groot Constantia is South Africa’s oldest brand

A new book on the history of branding in South Africa by the publishers of the respected Brands & Branding annual claims wine farm Groot Constantia to be our oldest brand at 326 years. Today Groot Constantia wine is sold in eight countries, continuing an exporting tradition from the early 1700s.

Titled From Groot Constantia to Google: 1685 to 2010, the book uses a narrative of South Africa’s social, economic and political history and consumer culture as a backdrop to the stories of many of our most recognized brands both old and not so old.

With over a thousand pictures and illustrations including advertisements, brand registrations, products, packaging, consumer culture and moments in history, many never published before.  It is a colourful and fascinating read and will be picked up and explored again and again for the remarkable stories and pictures.  But likewise for valuable insights into branding, advertising, intellectual property and packaging history.

While the brand bonanza only really got under way with the growth of the economy after the discovery of diamonds and gold in the 1870s and 80s, a fair number of local and overseas brands were traded before that.

Here are a few did you knows from the book …

  • Red Heart Rum is an original South African brand since the 1870s.  Blended from Caribbean rum landed in Cape Town it has become one of our favourite and most exported liquors.
  • The first female owner of Groot Constantia in 1724, Anna de Koningh, was born of a slave – Angela of Bengal.
  • Once the acknowledged favorite tipple of Napoleon, Sir Walter Scott and King Louis Philippe of France, Groot Constantia is mentioned in one of Jane Austin’s works and features in a Rimbaud poem.
  • MAIZENA, despite the very South African sounding name and a history going back nearly 100 years, actually originated in New York.
  • That Five Roses was originally the name of a brand of flour, and Huletts Sugar started in the tea business.
  • Lea & Perrins was first registered in the Cape Colony in 1891 and Valvoline in 1897.
  • Three of our oldest brands are financial institutions, RMB, Old Mutual and Standard Bank, going back to the 1830s and 40s.
  • Surprisingly, over 70 of our best known brands today are over 100 years old.

There’s also a thought to consider: Google grew from nothing to the world’s most valuable brand in 13 years.  But will it be in the top 50 in 20 years’ time?

Publication of From Groot Constantia to Google: 1685-2010 is scheduled for this year.  If you have a brand story you believe deserves telling, contact Ken Preston at 011 442 2366 or affinity@iafrica.com

Source: Marketingweb

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