Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Orange Julius: The revival of a brand

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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The last time I tasted a frothy, creamy Orange Julius drink was two decades ago in the lumbering retail dinosaur known as Metcalf South Mall. That little beverage stand is long gone, although a few local shopping malls still feature places to purchase the unique sweet beverage, which dates back to 1929. The best-known of the mall locations is in the food court of Independence Center, which also features one of the metro's few DQ Treat Centers: a combination Dairy Queen soft-serve shop and an Orange Julius.

Dairy Queen International (a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway) purchased the Orange Julius brand in 1987, but waited until 2005 to introduce the prototype DQ Orange Julius "Treat Center" in a freestanding location outside of Pittsburgh.

The DQ Orange Julius Treat Center at 14420 E. Highway 40 opened that same year, selling the full line of DQ cold treats along with the full line of Orange Julius beverages and hot dogs, once a staple of the Orange Julius stands.

 

A third venue, a full-operation Dairy Queen with all the Brazier food items, sells Orange Julius drinks in Raymore, Missouri.

"It's been a successful way to combine the two brands," a publicist for Dairy Queen International tells me. "They're both great brands."

The Orange Julius is actually older, by a couple of decades, than Dairy Queen. Julius Freed opened his first orange juice stand in Los Angeles in 1926, but when a few customers complained about the acidity of the freshly squeezed juice, Freed's stockbroker, Bill Hamblin, came up with a recipe for a new, less-acidic version in 1929. The recipe reportedly contains orange juice concentrate, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Little has changed in the recipe and preparation of the 81-year-old concoction, but it's no longer possible to get a fresh egg blended in: Orange Julius dropped this long tradition -- a favorite of bodybuilders -- in the 1980s after fresh eggs were linked to salmonella poisoning. Today the stores offer a fresh banana instead.

 

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