In 1867 a Scotsman by the name of Lauchlan Rose patented the method used to preserve citrus juice without alcohol. A year later he established L. Rose & Co. with a factory in Leith to produce lime juice.
The Merchant Shipping Act of 1867 required all ships of the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy to provide a daily lime ration to sailors to prevent scurvy. Rose’s lime juice became almost ubiquitous, hence the term limey for British sailors.
Rose established a presence on the Carribean island of Dominica and became the main buyer of limes and lime products from across the island. The company contributed to the most prosperous period that the island experienced at the height of the green lime trade from 1903 to the mid-1920s and was one of the most successful agricultural companies ever to be based in Dominica.
In 1917 Rose launched a concentrated fruit soft drink called Kia-Ora. The name was taken from Kia ora a Maori language greeting which means literally “be well/healthy” and was first used for a lemon squash by Arthur Gasquoine in Australia.
L. Rose & Co. began the production of marmalade in the 1930s.
The company continued to grow until it was taken over by Schweppes in 1957.
The Kia-Ora brand became popular in the 1970s and 80s in the UK. It was widely available in cinemas where it was sold in rectangular plastic cartons that were supplied with a drinking straw.
Today, Rose’s lime juice cordial and Kia-Ora are manufactured and distributed by Coca-Cola Enterprises Ltd.