Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 35, September 1991
When the Innes Scheppes factory closed on 31 July 1980, a page in Paeroa's history was turned. The name of the poplar soft drink, "Lemon and Paeroa" was known throughout New Zealand and beyond. Prior to the turn of the century, the Paeroa Natural Mineral Water Company first bottles and sold the waters of the Paeroa Spring to the people of the district. In 1904 the first official analysis was made of the waters and in 1907, Menzies and Company acquired the springs property and took over the bottling of the Paeroa spring water. First, just the mineral water was bottled as before, and then with the addition of lemon essence, which gave it it's remarkable refreshing flavour.
After Menzies & Co became Grey & Menzies Ltd. around 1909, a local carrier, Mr Jack Gordon, carted filled wooden casks from the spring to the wharf. They were shipped to the Auckland factory.
Grey and Menzies later merged with C L Innes and Company in 1963, forming Innes Tartan Ltd. Between these two companies was a total of 196 years of history in the soft drink industry in New Zealand. Following this merger an extensive marketing programme was followed, resulting in a rapid increase in sales throughout New Zealand and the Pacific area.Whatstarted as a modest local soft drink had now reached international status, receiving in 1969 a diploma in Excellence from the British Bottler's Institute. "Lemon and Paeroa" was the only entry outside the British Isles to win such an award.
In 1970 a new factory was opened replacing the old factory built over 50 years earlier. The decision to close the factory was not easy for the Company because of its special importance as the home of "Lemon and Paeroa", but was necessary in view of existing market conditions.
The large bottle at the eastern entrance to Paeroa remains to remind us of the industry.
Further details regarding "Lemon & Paeroa" are recorded in Journal 14, page 26 in an article by Len Jones [see Journal 14: History of "Lemon and Paeroa" - E].
THE REPORT OF ARTHUR E WOOLMAN GOVERNMENT BALNEOLOGIST 15 Nov 1904.
THE PAEROA SPRING
This is a cold spring of very palatable water arising in somewhat marsh ground. The water is alkaline, though giving an acid reaction to litmus on account of carbonic acid present. This gas is of value in both increasing palatability and the medicinal value of the water, but it would be found necessary to artificially add more gas, should the water be bottled.
The analysis shows a mild alkaline akalybeate water containing a somewhat large proportion of magnesium bicarbonate. To this latter salt is due the suspicion of a sweet taste which is characteristic of the water.
Among the uses to which the spring might be put are:
1. Were the spring in Europe it would be very valuable, for it might be used for medicinal purposes.
2. It might be bottled as a table water. For this purpose it is far better than some of the bottled waters in common use, which are far too highly mineralised and indeed it approximates very closely to some of the most famous table waters of Europe, such as Apollinaris.
A table water should be pleasant to the taste and should mix well with wine or spirits. Paeroa water is certainly pleasant to the taste. As a table water to be drunk by itself, Paeroa water should be excellent. I am afraid however that the universal use of tea in the colony makes the demand for such a water very limited.
Its chief patrons would be travellers who do not trust the purity of the drinking water at the places which they visit, and who would gladly welcome a perfectly pure and guaranteed safe mineral water. A great amount of mineral water is sold on the continent for this purpose.
To sum up, I would advise the bottling of this water as a table water, provided that the owner's were prepared to go to some considerable expense.