Established in 1950 by Don Francisco “El Güero” Hill in Guadalajara, Mexico, Jarritos has since skyrocketed to international popularity, currently sitting pretty as the best-selling Mexican soda in the United States. Slightly less carbonated than other sodas on the market and receiving its flavor from fresh fruit juices and cane sugar, Jarritos is beloved for its refreshing qualities and mouthwatering flavors, of which there are 13 to choose from.
The brand boasts some impressive stats, too. Jarritos has the capability to fill 45,000 glass bottles per hour at any of its bottling plants, which amounts to over seven miles of Jarritos if one were to lay them out in a singular line. Now that you know the basics, here are 10 more things you should know about Jarritos, the “Official Drink of Tacos.”
The name ‘Jarritos’ has both a German and Spanish translation.
Despite Jarritos’ name being of Spanish origin thanks to the brand’s Mexican roots, the name also happens to translate from German to goat shoes. Thankfully, the Spanish translation makes a bit more sense. Translating to “little jugs,” the name refers to the original method of serving and storing aguas frescas — clay jugs. These traditional jugs, naturally clay brown on the bottom and painted green on the top, were historically used to keep fruit-flavored aguas frescas colder and fresher for longer periods of time prior to the invention and widespread use of refrigerators.
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There’s a meaning behind the Jarritos logo.
As an homage to the original distribution methods of aguas frescas, every bottle of Jarritos features an illustration of three little jugs displayed proudly front and center on the label. Orange on the bottom and green on the top, these little jugs are meant to mimic the original colors of these little jugs. As a bonus, orange and green are the colors of two of Jarritos most popular flavors, Mandarin and Lime.
The soda was originally coffee-flavored.
Looking to produce a soda vastly different from that of Coca-Cola — which dominated the soft drink category at the time — creator Don Francisco experimented with unusual ingredients, producing the world’s first coffee-flavored soda. Likely tasting just as questionable as it sounds, Don Francisco quickly realized that selling the product would be immensely difficult, as most people preferred their morning Joe hot as opposed to chilled and carbonated. Soon after, the coffee-flavored Jarritos was discontinued and replaced with the fruit-forward flavors on today’s market.
The brand produced the original tamarind-flavored soft drink.
Brainstorming ways to bring new, exciting flavors to Mexican consumers, Don Francisco set out to create another equally interesting release under the Jarritos name. He soon developed a means of extracting the juice from tamarinds — a fruit commonly found in Southeast Asian and Latin American dishes. Carrying both sweet and sour notes depending on the fruit’s ripeness, tamarind’s flavor is comparable to that of an apricot or date. The soda was successful enough to launch Jarritos to popularity in Mexico and, by 1960, the brand was bottled and sold in 80 percent of Mexican states, making it the most popular naturally flavored soft drink in Mexico. Today, Tamarind is Jarritos’ second-most-popular flavor, behind Pineapple.
Early versions of Jarritos were bottled without any labels.
Though Jarritos bottles are now recognizable by the three little jugs illustration on its flashy labels, early bottlings of the soda were released to the public with no label at all. As each flavor of the soft drink is produced using real fruit and natural flavors, the contents inside each of the bottles were, and still are, colorful enough that early consumers knew which flavor to buy based on hue alone. Today, with over a dozen flavors on the market, the brand labels its products so as to not confuse consumers.
Soda isn’t Jarritos’ only specialty.
While most recognizable for its bright-colored soft drinks, Jarritos is anything but a one trick pony. In 1997, the same year Jarritos made its debut in the United States, the brand released a new product: Mineragua. Bottled onsite at two springs in Mexico, Mineragua is a refreshing sparkling mineral water — one of the most highly carbonated in existence — featuring sodium bicarbonate, salt, and potassium chloride, all of which aid in speeding the hydration process.
Mineragua got a recent refresh.
In 2021, the sparkling water was redesigned and launched to the public with a new slogan, Vida con Chispa, or Life With Sparkle. Also included in the rebrand was a revamp of the Mineragua logo, which used to feature three jugs of water, and a recipe change that lowered the water’s sodium content. Of the rebrand, Mineragua brand manager Jazhen Gonzalez says, “We’re committed to maintaining the history of where we came from, the humble beginnings that inspired this brand, and look forward to seeing how these updates translate across cultures in fresh, modern ways — all meant to engage our customers and new customers.” As the sparkling water category continues to explode, the refresh may be showing signs of early success — in 2021 alone, Mineragua sold over 4 million cases.
Jarritos uses approximately 30 million mandarins each year to make its sodas.
Though Don Francisco is no longer around to oversee the production of Jarritos, his emphasis on natural extracts rather than artificial flavors has remained at the brand’s core. As such, the company — rather than sourcing oranges from around the world for its mandarin flavor — has worked in tandem with local growers to source fresh mandarins from Mexico. Though more expensive than importing, growing locally results in fresher flavors that ultimately reflect in the final beverage. The soft drink brand even has its own mandarin grove in Yucatán, though its exact location remains top secret. In total, Jarritos uses 30 million mandarins annually to produce its beloved sodas.
In 2010, three months’ worth of Jarritos was lost in a devastating earthquake.
On Easter Sunday in April 2010, disaster struck in Baja California. At around 3:40 p.m. local time, just south of Guadalupe, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake shook the ground for a full minute and a half, marking it the strongest quake to rock the area in almost two decades and the second-largest earthquake ever experienced in Baja California. Miraculously, no one at Jarritos’ bottling plants was seriously injured, but the same did not apply to its beloved product. In the chaos, three months’ worth of bottled Jarritos was damaged or broken entirely from the violent tremor and subsequent collapse of warehouse storage.
Jarritos and tequila are a match made in heaven.
If you’re not one to drink soda on its own, Jarritos makes an apt addition to beloved tequila cocktails like the Paloma. Made with real, fresh fruit juice, Jarritos adds a zippy citrus flavor without weighing down the cocktail with artificial sweeteners, beautifully complementing the Paloma’s classic combo of tequila, lime juice, and salt. If Ranch Water is more your style, the vivacious carbonation and balanced minerality of Mineragua make it an ideal addition to the simple classic.