Babycham had humble beginnings. The Showering brothers Arthur, Herbert, Ralph and Francis ran a small brewery, mineral water and cider making business from Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Always on the lookout for new drinks Francis Showering started his research into the fermentation of fruit juices, first with the idea of improving cider, but then realising that perry – made from perry pears – worked much better. He came up with a clear sparkling drink made from pear juice and launched the product himself using the Bristol area as his test market.
In 1950 the drink was bottled, initially in large bottles then later in the trademark ‘baby’ bottles, and called Champagne de la Poire and Champagne de la Pomme. In the years that followed the perry was entered in competitions at all major agricultural shows in the country – it won first prize every time and the new perry became known as the “Baby Champ”.
Babycham was launched nationally in 1953. This was possibly the single most significant innovation in the drinks industry ever. In post war Britain, women were beginning to play a more dominant role in society and Francis Showering had devised a product specifically for women. The previous choices of gin, cream Sherry or stout held limited appeal. The light, sweet sparkling drink was precisely in keeping with the aspirations of women of all ages. Babycham was (and is) a lively, fun drink they could call their own. Around the same time the deer image first became associated with Babycham. Representing the light and sparkling nature of Babycham the deer rapidly became an iconic brand image.
As the success of Babycham grew, the entrepreneurial spirit was maintained as it became the first ever alcoholic drinks brand (the second ever brand) to be advertised on commercial television in the UK. Right from the description “Genuine Champagne Perry” to the champagne saucer style glasses, the upmarket, glamorous and aspirational values allowed women to escape their routine lives and “dream”. Production was expanded significantly and the mill at Shepton Mallet worked round the clock to meet demand. The little drink had become a worldwide success.
Babycham had become one of the largest selling alcoholic drinks enjoyed by women creating themselves a new role in society. These women, who had done so much during the war, weren’t interested in the drinks market focused almost exclusively upon men. They wanted a fun and lively drink they could call their own and their clear choice was Babycham, a fresh, exciting and stylish brand. The 60s also saw the launch of the Babycham Babe beauty contest.
By the early 1980s Babycham was a brand enjoyed by two consumer groups; they were older consumers who had drunk Babycham since their late teens and early twenties, and young women to whom it was almost a rite of passage. The television adverts continued, but changed to animation. A cartoon was developed which brought the deer to life as a sprightly, energetic character who gives life and sparkle to a mediocre party. Another advert of the 80s saw the Babycham TV ad with probably the greatest recall. It depicts a dark and dingy bar in which time momentarily stands still as a cool looking patron offers the immortal line – “Hey, I’d love a Babycham”.
Babycham celebrates it's Diamond Jubilee in 2013, just one year after the Queen! The 60th anniversary milestone is celebrated with an on pack promotion to collect special edition 60th anniversary classic Babycham glasses. With the release of the retro cherry and soda cream flavours in 2014, Babycham is still loved to this day.