Top News

A Pineapple Crush: Newfoundland and Labrador’s flavour fascination

['Pinapple Crush is still a strong seller for Browning Harvey Ltd. — Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram']
['Pinapple Crush is still a strong seller for Browning Harvey Ltd. — Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram']

The province is known for so many things, one being pineapple-flavoured soda pop

Pineapple Crush is produced by Browning Harvey Ltd. at the company’s plant in St. John’s.

“That’s just here. Nowhere else in the country,” said Blair Patrick, a community relations consultant with the manufacturer.

“We did do some what we call co-packing for a bottler in New Brunswick one summer four or five years ago. They had it one summer, it was called a specialty item for the summer and that was it. Other than that, the only place is in Newfoundland.”

As with other popular products from the province, Pineapple Crush has popped up elsewhere in Canada as a result of the efforts of Newfoundland and Labrador theme stores, savvy shop owners and wholesalers. “But it’s all produced here,” Patrick said.

There are some supplies that make their way in from across the border. Retailer Gummi Boutique (gummiboutique.ca) sources its Pineapple Crush from California, selling at locations in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as online.

“We have a huge N.L. clientele here, including my wife. People go nuts over it,” said owner James Dobbin, who started the business before meeting Carolyn Evans, who now works by his side on the enterprise.

The product sells with the tagline: “Newfoundlanders Love, Love, Love it. Now so can you.”

But… love, love, love it?

As it turns out, the pineapple flavour has indeed been a constant on the local scene for decades. Pineapple pop was introduced by Crown Beverages and was a hit. As to exactly why the pineapple flavour did so well remains a mystery. As Crown faded, Sun Crest took over producing the pineapple pop, sustaining the local following, Patrick said. Then Cadbury Beverages, now Canada Dry Motts, came roaring in with Crush.

“We insisted when we launched Crush Orange and Crush Lime, we insisted they buy the pineapple flavor. We wanted to launch pineapple under the Crush name — because it was so popular,” Patrick said. “So it’s been around for, my God, I suppose 50 years at least, in one form or another. It was always called pineapple, but it was like a Crown Pineapple, a Sun Crest Pineapple and finally a Crush Pineapple, which is what it is today.”

The current concentrate formula is a trade secret. The concentrate is provided to Browning Harvey Ltd., which adds the elements required to make and bottle the soda.

The sales numbers are confidential, but speaking generally, The Telegram was told the product continues to do well.

“It just keeps trucking along. We’re shocked, to tell you the truth,” Patrick said. “People just love that flavour.”

It’s relative rarity in other parts of Canada has led to it being top of the pops at the St. John’s International Airport, spawned a Reddit thread discussing its origin and availability and launched groups like “Newfoundland Pineapple Crush Pride” on Facebook.

Musician Derrick Drover lives in Ontario, having moved away from Newfoundland and Labrador with family at the age of 17.

“It used to be my favourite drink when I lived home, when I drank pop on a regular basis,” he said with a laugh, after being contacted as one of many people who have posted on social media regarding the soft drink.

“My brother and his family came to visit me this summer and they brought up one. So it was like a taste of … I don’t want to say the words ‘taste of home,’ because that’s like a magazine, but you know what I mean.”

The flavour was sweeter than he remembered.

Birch Beer Crush is another popular local product, bottled at the Browning Harvey Ltd.

“We still produce it, mostly in summer,” Patrick said.

Twitter: @TeleFitz

On pineapple popsicles

Pineapple Crush is hardly the only ‘pineapple’ product enjoyed in the province. With the closure of the Scotsburn Ice Cream plant in St. John’s, questions have been posed by readers as to the continued availability of certain Scotsburn products on the island, chief among them pineapple popsicles (with discussion on pineapple flavouring prompting this story).

The Scotsburn Ice Cream pineapple popsicles were being produced in New Brunswick, until a recent decision to also close a factory there. They are now being produced in Quebec.

COO Jeff Burrows was asked about continued availability of the product in Newfoundland and Labrador. “They absolutely will still be supplied,” he said.

RELATED STORY:

Scotsburn closure marks end of 90 years of ice cream

Recent Stories