Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle learned basics of distilling spirits from his father, who was a wine and spirit merchant. He married the grand-daughter of Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle, owner of the distillery in Neauphle le Chataue near Paris, which specialised in fruit liqueur production. Alexandre soon took a major role in Jean's distillery.
One day at the distillery, Jean brought Alexandre a blended orange cognac from the Cognac region of France and Alexandre adored the product and decided to produce the similar sort.
Shortly after he moved to the Chateau de Bourg, a 17th century castle in the Cognac region, where he had a convenient access to the supply for his new liqueur.
He used the Citrus Bigaradia oranges from the West Indies. To enhance the aroma, separated orange peels were macerated in neutral alcohol before the steam distillation process.
In the 19th century, oranges were considered as luxurious goods reserved for the private rooms of prices and princesses and the gardens of Kings and Queens. The first orange tree in the New World was planted by Columbus in 1443 in Hispaniola (now Haiti).
Grand Marnier still uses the Citrus Bigaradia bitter oranges selected from plantations around tropical regions of the world such as Caribbean's. The reason for this specific sort is so when the peel is dried, it will still retain a very strong perfume that gives the unique aroma and character to the liqueur.
In 1880, Alexandre's creation, Grand Marnier was introduced in the stylish bottle with the famous red ribbon and seal on the label.
Four years after the launch, the amber orange liqueur won the first official prize, the Grand Prix at the international Exposition of Nice.
In 1927, the Marnier-Lapostelle family released a special cuvee, Īthe Cuvee du Centenair1 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company and its founder Jean-Baptiste Lapostolle in limited quantities.
Fifty years later in 1997, Grand Marnier launched the limited edition of150th anniversary bottle.
In 1975 current president (as of November 2001), Jacques Marnier-Lapostolle, grandson of Alexandra established a new bottling plant to meet the market demand. Today the brand is marketed in over 150 countries.
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