Even living in a warmer climate, January often brings snivels. The warmer days and colder nights wreak havoc on the sinuses that result in grumpy family members who share beds with snoring partners. So armed with a box of tissues and a sore nose, I head off in search of my particularly favourite low-fi cure for the winter chills – that doesn’t come in a bottle at 40% proof!
Fisherman’s Friend original and iconic lozenges with their comforting haze of menthol and eucalyptus have for many years cleared my stuffed up head and, at a modest 4 calories a lozenge, they are guaranteed not to totally torpedo your post Christmas minimal sugar routine!
A quick barometer of how congested you are: take one pack of Fisherman’s Friend “Original” rip the sealed section to reveal the contents place your nose in the little white bag and breath deeply. If the hairs in your nose don’t tingle, then, my friend, you are seriously congested. Try the same exercise when you are not feeling groggy.
In 1865 in Fleetwood (Lancashire, UK) a pharmacist, James Lofthouse, had the bright idea to develop a tincture of liquorice, menthol and eucalyptus liquid to clear the pipes of North Sea fisherman based in the town’s famous fishing port. The bottles containing Mr Lofthouse’s remedy proved hazardous in high seas so a lozenge version was developed top deliver the same relief.
By the late 1960’s the bucket and spade tourists visiting Blackpool and Fleetwood increased demand for the family’s lozenges so a van was used to deliver to other retailers in the region. By the early 1970’s a converted tram-shed becomes a new bas for packaging the lozenges. 1974 saw the first exports of Fisherman’s Friends to are Belgium and Norway.
1974 also saw some brand extension with the addition of a delicious Aniseed version of the now well known lozenge. A sugar free version arrived in 1979.
By 2000 the Fisherman’s Friend factory – which is still in Fleetwood – has expanded to 600,000 sq ft. from its start in 1980 of only 34,700 sq ft.
The growth of the business is largely credited to Doreen Lofthouse, who married into the family, saw the potential for the brand which it was reported in 2009 was worth over £165m with a turnover of £33.5million. The size and shape of the 1974 Aniseed version were determined by dimensions of the buttons of Doreen’s dress!
Staggeringly, it is recorded that by 2014 Fisherman’s Friend, a family business to this day, is now producing over 5 billion lozenges a year and exporting to 120 countries (with three Queen’s Awards to prove it) with 97% of Fleetwood’s production being exported with Germany and Norway being huge markets. There are now a total of 15 flavours of Fisherman’s Friend available but are not all obtainable in the UK.
Doreen has registered Fisherman’s Friend as a trademark and a logo. The black and red packaging reflects back to an era when Doreen’s Mother in Law prepared hand typed packets of the lozenges. It now carries the image of a real trawler called “the Cevic” – numbered FD241 – which was sadly lost in 1991.