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Bovil coming to Klix Drinks


“We all know that when it’s snowing and it’s cold you have Bovril. That’s a rule of life.” So said TV presenter James May on BBC Top Gear when he was in Norway in charge of a massive snowplough, and yes he’s right. But Bovril is not just a drink for wintertime it is an all year round drink that UK Vending are delighted to announce will be offering to our customers. This led us thinking why Bovril is such a quintessential part of the British culture and I bet 99 percent of the population has a jar of Bovril squirreled away in a larder cupboard saving it for a rainy day.

So what exactly is Bovril? It is a thick, salty meat extract developed as long ago as the 1870’s by creator John Lawson Johnston. It is still made near to its origins in Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire and today is manufactured by Unilever UK. So, why is it called Bovril and not beef extract? Well that’s an interesting story in itself. Lawson Johnston was a very highly educated man steeped in the classics and as such he knew that the Latin word for ox is bos; all nice and clear and understandable so far. The second half of the name, however, is more obscure. The vril comes from the suffix from Bulwer-Lytton’s 1870 novel the Coming Race. The book tells the story of a superior race of people called the Vril-ya who get superhuman powers by consuming an electromagnetic substance called Vril. Lawson Johnston combined the two words to make Bovril. But Bovril was not the first name used for the product, in fact the much less appetising ‘Johnson’s Fluid Beef’ was the first name chosen.

By 1888 demand for Bovril had increased substantially with grocers, chemists and even public houses selling the stuff. The following year the Bovril Company was founded. Bovril soon found itself being poured into thermos flasks and carried by football supporters to the grounds on chilly winter days to keep the fans warm and has become a staple of soccer games ever since. It also made its way the Antarctic on Ernest Shackleton’s ill fated Endurance Expedition.

In 2016 there were celebrations for something seemingly quite humble and unassuming because it was the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Bovril’s instant beef stock cube.

For us at UKVending we thought that this titbit of information was the best one yet: In the early 20th Century secured the services of no less a figure than Pope Leo XIII for an advertising campaign. The posters saw the Pope on his throne holding a mug of Bovril and underneath the slogan read: “The Two Infallible Powers – The Pope & Bovril.”

Bovril will be available from the Klix vending machines from the end of February.


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