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  • Writer's pictureEmma

Babycham - A British Vintage Classic

Whether you used to enjoy a glass of Babycham in a champagne saucer yourself, or simply remember it as a niche tipple your Mum or Grandma enjoyed or indeed like me you have fond memories of Snowballs being made from Babycham and Advocat at Christmas back in the day- the chances are if you are British then you will immediately recognise the Babycham brand. But what you might not know is that Babycham was actually quite the trailblazer and was infact the first alcoholic drink to be specifically targeted to women. Marketed as a genuine champagne perry, this fun bubbly drink was marketed to the female population with the tagline "I'd love a Babycham" and was also the first ever alcoholic beverage to be advertised on television.

Babycham is a sparkling perry (6%ABV) originally invented by Francis Showering, a brewer from Shepton Mallet, Somerset. His father was an innkeeper and brewer and the family business specialised in the brewing of beers and ciders. In the 1940s, Francis and the Showerings company developed a process to produce a perry - a light type of cider that is brewed from pear juice. This created a sweet, low alcohol sparkling beverage that Francis presented in many agricultural shows in the late 40s and early 50s and he labelled it 'baby champ'. This would of course lead to the infamous brand name Babycham.

The product officially launched in 1953 with the TV advertising campaign launching later, in 1957. Like all iconic and recognisable brands, the company needed a strong logo and they adopted the cute and kitsch Babycham fawn, a sprightly deer not dissimilar to Disney's Bambi from 1942. This logo was created by John Emperor of Collett Dickenson Pearce of London and the large fawn still stands outside the Shepton Mallet headquarters of the company today as a reminder of this iconic British made brand.

However, back at the start, the Babycham fawn started out in a pale white colour with a blue bow, as you can see from our original 1950s Babycham glasses here...

In the 1960s the fawn changed to a golden colour and was depicted leaping as opposed to the upright standing pose of the original logo. As the company moved through the 60s and into the 70s it was almost as though the fawn was maturing too, taking on a slightly less kitsch and more elegant design. Here you can see the difference in our original 1970s Babycham glasses...

You will also notice the other two subtle differences in the design of the Babycham glass, moving from a hexagonal stem in the 1950s to a rounded stem in the 1970s as well as the Babycham text on the bottom of the glass becoming a lighter shade of blue.

Vintage Babycham glasses are such a great collectors item and also make a fantastic gift for anyone who loves vintage or perhaps has a bar or decorative glasses at home. Over the years there have also been many different types of Babycham memorabilia created such as ashtrays, beer mats, cocktail stirrers, pencils, notepads, free standing plastic fawns and more.

At the height of it's popularity in the 1960s, Showerings stopped brewing beer in order to concentrate on their cider and perry production. By the peak of production in the early seventies, there were 145000 bottle being made every hour. Sadly as the brand moved into the 1980s, it's popularity fell due to more cheaply available alternatives and the tightening of restrictions and regulations surrounding alcohol marketing. Babycham simply fell out of fashion at this point. In 1986, the marketing strategy flipped on itself and the famous TV advert saw a prim and proper 1950s couple ordering a Babycham in a busy nightclub. The club falls silent in utter dismay at such a request, until a cool guy in shades also asks for the same, leading to a clamoring of requests at the bar.

There was a relaunch of the brand in the 1990s but at this point, Babycham was still seen as more of an old fashioned novelty drink and couldn't quite stand up to it's alcopop rivals. Fast forward into the 2010's and the rise in popularity of vintage and retro brands like Babycham saw a re-surge in sales. By 2011, Babycham was selling around 15 million bottles a year and introduced varieties with a hint of either cream soda or cherry. Babycham is still available and now owned by Accolade Wines but the sons of the original Showerings founders are now producing fashionable flavoured ciders under the Brothers Cider brand.

As with all our vintage and retro items, we only buy and sell the best quality and high standard items. So if you want to start your own kitsch collection or fancy a cute and unusual gift for someone special, you will usually find we have original vintage Babycham glasses in stock; both in-store and online.

Until next time

Emma x

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