James Folger was only 14 when he traveled to San Francisco with his two brothers from Nantucket. After a big fire destroyed their family's livelihood, they were in search of gold. James got a job with The Pioneer Steam Coffee and Spice Mills, and eventually became a partner of the business. But, after the Civil War, the economy collapsed and the company went bankrupt.
James convinced his creditors to pay the company's debts and bought all the other partners, changing the name of the company to J. A. Folger & Co. The demand for coffee increased during World War II, but due to the severe shortage of metal, Folger Coffee was packed in glass jars with waxed cardboard lids.
Executives and salespeople were also hired to help package the coffee, as many workers enlisted in the war. With the popularity of instant coffee growing after the war, Folgers launched their first instant coffee in 1953, but it did not live up to customer expectations. After some time, they launched a new Instant Folgers in 1958 which experienced tremendous success. During wartime shipping routes changed from Central America to New Orleans, making it one of the largest green coffee markets in the United States. Around this time, Folgers started planning their largest coffee plant to date and construction began in 1960 at their New Orleans home which is still Where We Roast today.
Procter & Gamble acquired Folgers Coffee brand and began distributing it nationwide. Advertising was instrumental in making Folgers the number one coffee brand in the United States, so they introduced Ms. Olson as the face of their brand for more than 20 years. In 1975, they launched Folgers Crystals with the Tastes As Rich As It Looks campaign. Then, in 1980, they conducted The Great Folgers Switch campaign where they secretly changed regular coffee of unsuspecting coffee drinkers to Folgers Crystals in several notable luxury restaurants. In honor of their 150th anniversary, a National Search for Jingle Singin' was conducted and they are also working in partnership with VH-1's Save The Music charity to raise funds for underfunded music programs in elementary schools. Folger's Coffee dates back to the 1600s when the Folger family left their home in Norwich, England and sailed to Massachusetts.
James Athearn (“JA”) Folger arrived in San Francisco in 1850 and opened his own business. Procter & Gamble stepped in and acquired Folgers Coffee which allowed it to be distributed nationally and found in most of the country's kitchens. New slogans, new aroma stamps for freshness and newly designed containers helped Folgers establish itself as the most popular coffee brand in the United States. Taking matters into his own hands, James decided to try every single shipment of coffee beans Folgers bought. Although it took a dozen years or more, JA Folger paid all its creditors after bankruptcy.
They have also launched Simply Smooth, a stomach-friendly coffee; gourmet and flavored coffees; instant cappuccinos; coffee capsules; individual packs; and recently launched a new coffee brand called “1850” to celebrate their founder's arrival.