Ocean Spray

Ocean Spray – History of All-time Favorite Cranberry-Based Products

Have you ever wondered about the history behind your favorite cranberry juice and sauce? Well, get ready to dive into the fascinating story of Ocean Spray. From a small group of cranberry farmers in the 1930s to a major player in the beverage and snack industry today, this company has a rich and storied past. 

So, grab a glass of Ocean Spray juice, settle in, and join us as we explore the origins, growth, and evolution of this beloved brand. 

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

Ocean Spray

Overview of Ocean Spray Company

An annual harvest of 220 billion cranberries is produced by the farming cooperative Ocean Spray, which is made up of 700 family farmers. They produce 223 million bottles of juice and 88 million cans of cranberry sauce from all those gathered fruits.

Care for a fun fact? Cranberries are eaten by people in the US each year, amounting to 400 million pounds. The holiday season is when people eat the most cranberries. In 2018, the brand debuted the largest can of Cran (the sauce) in Times Square as a tribute to their well-known jellied cranberry sauce, of which 5 million gallons are eaten by Americans each holiday season. It weighed 500 pounds in total.

Ocean Spray’s development is centered on innovation. With products like cranberry water, cranberry-Colombian coffee blend, and cranberry-tea blend, they’ve been continually stretching the envelope.

It makes sense that a cooperative made up of cranberry farmers would have started with fresh cranberries as their primary offering. Evidently, no. It took them 16 years to add fresh cranberries to their lineup of goods. Their initial offering was bottled cranberry sauce, which is still a well-liked side dish for Thanksgiving.

The brand detected an increase in public interest in orange juice a year after its debut, in 1931. So they released a Cranberry Juice Cocktail to join the beverage industry. Ocean Spray Cran, which was created to be mixed with intoxicating drinks, appeared shortly after. 

How Everything Started

Even though cranberries are only gathered in North America between mid-September and mid-November, it is not difficult to find a can of dried cranberries or jellied cranberry sauce during the height of summer. However, it is interesting how everything started. 

Cranberries were exclusively a Thanksgiving delicacy about a century ago. But Urann, who was a lawyer, decided to work toward something that many wished for: making cranberries accessible all year. He acquired a swamp in Massachusetts, built up a kitchen, and invented the first canned cranberry sauce before turning into a full-time cranberry producer.

In addition to being an inventor, Urann was also a skilled business manager. He persuaded other independent cranberry growers like John C. Makepeace from Washington and Elizabeth F. Lee from New Jersey to join him and form a cooperative so that they can share the profits and assist one another to shield farmers from the tensions regarding the crop’s volume and cost each year. 

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Ocean Spray was thus created, although at the time it was known as Cranberry Canners Inc.; the National Cranberry Organization eventually replaced it. It wasn’t until 1957 that it received its present moniker, which the Smithsonian claims was taken from the name of a fish company in Washington state. The company’s rights to the brand and emblem were purchased by Urann.

Over 700 farmer families from the US, Canada, and Chile are a part of the Ocean Spray partnership. Every farmer owns and operates their own farm, with a typical farm area of 18 acres. Women own more than half of these properties. 

25% of their products come from fourth-generation growers or older. But there are also some first-generation farmers, like Massachusetts’ Iain Ward, who left his job writing conservation farm plans for cranberry growers to start his own business, or Malcolm and Ardell McPhail, who left their positions as Washington State University Extension Agents to run their farm in Washington.


As already mentioned above, Ocean Spray is a cooperative of more than 700 cranberry and grapefruit growers. The business manufactures a variety of goods, such as:

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Juice

Ocean Spray is most famous for its cranberry juice, which is available in a variety of flavors and formulations. 

Because cranberries naturally have a sour flavor, Ocean Spray cranberry juice has an acidic and tangy taste. Depending on the specific product, it may also contain other fruit juices or sweeteners, which can help balance out the tartness and provide a slightly sweeter taste. Overall, the taste of Ocean Spray cranberry juice is distinctive and refreshing, making it a popular choice for drinking on its own or using as a mixer in cocktails and other beverages.

Dried And Fresh Cranberries

Dried And Fresh Cranberries

Craisins (dried cranberries) were made available as a culinary component in the 1980s. Ocean Spray also produces sweetened and unsweetened dried cranberries, which are popular as a snack or as an ingredient in baked goods, salads, and other dishes.

During the fall harvest season, Ocean Spray sells fresh cranberries for use in cooking and baking.

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit Juice

The brand also produces grapefruit juice, which is available in a variety of flavors.  It was advertised as a delightfully flavorful beverage that is silky and pleasurable to the touch, providing a sure respite from thirst, fatigue, and dizziness. It is stated that even for smokers, a drink before bed encourages slumber and a fresh mouth in the morning. 

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Juice Blends

Juice Blends

In addition to cranberry and grapefruit juice, Ocean Spray produces a range of juice blends that combine cranberry with other fruits, such as blueberry, pomegranate, and cherry. 

The sauce and fresh fruit from Ocean Spray continued to be the company’s best-selling goods up until the 1960s. The juice cocktail only received a small amount of dissemination, so they put their innovative thinking skills back to work and created the first juice mix ever: cranberry apple juice, or cranapple, as Ocean Spray called it. Another popular concoction, known as Cran-Grape, was what came next: cranberry and grape. 

Are Ocean Spray Products Healthy?

Since the 1980s, when Ocean Spray teamed up with the Women’s Sports Foundation to raise awareness about leading healthy lives, the brand has been an advocate for health. Cranberries were discovered to help prevent urinary tract infections by Harvard Medical School researchers in 1994, which helped Ocean Spray market its product as healthy.

The cooperative offered low-calorie juice drinks with sucralose in place of sugar as part of their project Cran-Health, using this research as motivation. Cranberries have earned the title of “superfood” due to their abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols. And Ocean Spray reaped the benefits of this new glory by launching a range of beverages with a health-conscious emphasis.

They introduced Cran-Energy in 2008, a beverage that blended green tea with actual fruit liquids. Less than ten years later, they developed PACt Cranberry Extract Water using  proanthocyanidins. They are nutritional extracts from cranberries that, when ingested, aid in the removal of specific dangerous germs from the body.

Shortly after, they launched Cranberry +Health, which, per the information on Ocean Spray’s website, has the highest percentage of cranberry compounds accessible among Ocean Spray beverage products. Consuming one 8-ounce container of cranberry juice per day can reduce the frequency of recurrent symptomatic UTIs in women, according to research released in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


  • Water
  • Cranberry Juice from Concentrate (27%)
  • Sugar
  • Thickener (Pectin)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vegetable and Fruit Concentrates (Carrot, Cranberry)
  • Sweetener (Steviol Glycosides from Stevia)
  • Natural Flavoring


Serving Size:6.8 fl oz (200g)% Daily Value*
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 0.2g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 12mg1%
Total Carbohydrates 22g8%
Dietary Fiber 0.2g1%
Sugars 20g
Protein 0.5g
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 38mg3%
Iron 0.2mg1%
Potassium 152mg3%
Caffeine 0mg
  • The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
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Ocean Spray on Social Media

Nathan Apodaca, an Idaho storage worker, is the one who made Ocean Spray famous on social media. Apodaca uploaded a video of himself longboarding to work on September 25, 2020, after his 2005 Dodge Durango broke down in the middle of the road. He had no idea that the brief TikTok video in which he can be seen drinking Ocean Spray’s cranberry juice and lip-syncing Fleetwood Mac’s 1970 hit song “Dreams” would go global.

The video, which received more than 60 million hits on TikTok, completely altered Apodaca’s existence. He now has a manager and is well-known on social media. But the effect went beyond him. The Fleetwood Mac tune, which was first published in 1977, has reentered Billboard’s top 100. Additionally, the Ocean Spray brand enjoyed some nice press.

Ocean Spray & Sustainability

In addition to engaging in ecological cultivation, Ocean Spray considered the lifespan of the packaging that holds its goods. For instance, they have taken measures to keep their minds clean after realizing that the plastic containers in which they offer Craisins may have a negative effect on the earth. You can purchase numerous bags of Craisins guilt-free because the cooperative has a partnership with the refuse management firm TerraCycle.

Customers of Ocean Spray can now submit their unused Craisin containers to TerraCycle in exchange for TerraCycle points that can be used to support a school or non-profit group. According to the TerraCycle website, the plastic bags will be dissolved and reshaped to create new items like park chairs or picnic tables.


Ocean Spray Logo




Bottom Line

The Ocean Spray brand has come a long way and continues to be the favorite juice, sauce, and snack manufacturer. Above, we explored the history behind your favorite cranberry-based product manufacturer and the farmers who make it all possible. So next time you crack open a cold can of Ocean Spray or open the cranberry sauce, you can appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into making it.


Who owns Ocean Spray?

Ocean Spray is owned by the 700 cranberry growers across the United States, Canada and Chile who are part of our vibrant cooperative. As farmer-owners, they are returned 100% of the profits from products made from their fruit.

Why is the Ocean Spray label upside down?

The Ocean Spray cans are filled and labeled upside down with a rounded edge on top and a sharp can-like edge on the bottom to keep the jelly whole.

Please leave a review or any memories of this snack in the comments below. Thank you!

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