I’m sure you never thought there could be a connection between Welch’s Grape Juice and Dentistry but here it is! The founder of Welch’s is Thomas B. Welch who graduated from the New York Central Medical College in Syracuse in 1852. He practiced medicine for three years before entering into a dental apprenticeship under the tutelage of Dr. Foster, a practicing dentist in upstate New York. Dr. Welch then moved to Minnesota where he practiced dentistry for a year before settling in New Jersey. He had a thriving career in dentistry with offices in Vineland, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. He also founded the Welsh’s Dental Supply Co. in Philadelphia.
Dr. Welch had early hoped to become a minister and had joined the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, which opposed the use of alcohol. The alcoholic wine used in communion presented a challenge to Welch. By 1859 he had perfected a juice pasteurization process in his kitchen, and he began selling the unfermented, alcohol-free product to churches as “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.” Dr. Welch failed to develop a following for the product until several years later when he got the idea to market the alcohol-free drink beyond the church. He brought Welch’s Grape Juice to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, where he offered free samples of the drink he called a “health tonic with medicinal uses.” Welch’s Grape Juice was a hit and its popularity has continued to grow. So there you have it: Welch’s Grape Juice and Dentistry!