Ricard, a success “made in Marseille”

Ricard, a success “made in Marseille”
Ricard, a success “made in Marseille”


Brands: the stars of summer, the LSA summer series!

From Quechua to Opinel, via Campingaz, Polaroïd and Obut, LSA invites you to (re)discover the history of brands all summer long. On this 1st of July, the editorial team starts with Ricard, a success “made in Marseille”. A suggestion, an anecdote, a question? Do not hesitate to contact the editorial team.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If absinthe is banned, then what to do? What to drink? In 1915, France banned the sale and consumption of absinthe. Thujone, a hallucinogenic neurotoxin contained in the absinthe plant, was accused of making people mad. We were in the middle of the First World War. The French certainly had bigger fish to fry than worrying about what they were going to throw down their throats. The time for Alexandrines recited by some feverish poet to the famous ” green fairy » – or « blue “, we no longer really know when we are abusing.

After the war, on the other hand, the question arises again. And a man, near Marseille, is working hard to find a solution. Her name ? Paul Ricard. We must imagine him busy behind his still, multiplying experiments. If I mix one aromatic plant with another, what will happen? And then, finally, one fine day in thefall 1932the right combination is found. A clever blend of star anise, green anise and liquorice.

An immediate success from its creation in 1932

The story does not say whether he cried ” Eureka » but she says, on the other hand, that he quickly found the name to give to this new beverage: va for pastis, from the Provençal word meaning porridge or mixture, saying things well. The success was immediate: in eight months, the legend goes, Paul Ricard already sold 250,000 bottles of his revolutionary discovery.

The Second World War, however, brought a halt to Ricard, which was prohibited for sale. Never mind, Paul Ricard diversified into agriculture by purchasing the Méjanes estate, located in the Camargue. He makes it, among other things, on the 1,200 hectares of the estate, an area specialized in rice growing, breeding and production of fruits and vegetables.

Authorized again after the war, the Ricard found its way back to the shelves and the “ little yellow » becomes popular, well beyond its Provençal roots. To the point of even becoming its symbol, giving this drink a little air and a great taste of Provence.

The third generation in power

The 1960s and 1970s were years of growth, in the wake of a France of the Trente Glorieuses that discovered the joys of all-out consumption. In 1975, the Ricard group formed an alliance with Pernod, another big name in wines and spirits. The brand catalog continued to grow and expand: Absolut, Ballantine’s, Chivas, Malibu, Jameson, all these brands, and others, belonged to the group. In total, more than 240 claws but we always come back to just one, emblematic and heritage: Ricard. The one who makes the fame and the legend.

In 1978, Paul Ricard, 69, handed over the reins of the company to his son, Patrick. After the death of the latter, in 2012, and since that date, it is Alexandre Ricardhis nephew, representing the third generation, who presides over the destiny of the family empire. And the “little yellow” remains a star product. And not just in the summer.


In dates


  • 1932 Paul Ricard creates pastis

  • 1975 Ricard and Pernord join forces to form a single group

  • 1978 Paul Ricard hands over the reins to his son Patrick

  • 2012 Death of Patrick Ricard, replaced at the head of the company by his nephew, Alexandre Ricard
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