The Utt Juice
Co. plant, which ran along the west side of
Prospect between Main and Third streets,
produced 7 million gallons of juice during the
50 years it was in operation.
C. E. Utt, who
developed the San Joaquin Fruit Co. along with
Sherman Stevens and James Irvine, experimented
with a number of agricultural crops, citrus,
peanuts, chili peppers and grapes during his
lifetime, but his involvement with grapes
continued for many years.
It all began when he leased property on Lemon
Heights from the Irvine Co. in 1915 and planted
two acres of Concord grapes. By 1918 when the
vines came into production, he had more grapes
than he could find a market for. His solution
was to start making grape juice at home, using
the back porch for his kitchen. When he had more
juice than his family could consume, he bottled
the excess and started giving it to his friends.
People raved about the drink and told him he
should bottle it commercially. Soon he was
marketing a drink labeled Home Made Grape Juice.
On Sept. 9, 1918, he founded a new enterprise,
which he called the Utt Juice Co. When it
outgrew his back porch, he moved to a
Victorian-Italianate building on the northwest
corner of Main and Prospect. The building, which
he had owned since 1907, had been the home of
Sauers and Berkquist grocery. Set up with
boilers, vats, presses and bottling equipment ,
it became the Utt Juice Co. Sheds and additional
buildings were added as the company grew.
Arcy Schellhous, a young man of 27, bought a
quarter interest in the business in 1922 and
took over the management, giving Utt more time
for his duties as president of the San Joaquin
Fruit Co., president of the First National Bank
of Tustin and owner of Tustin Water Works. They
adopted the brand name of Queen Isabella and
added pomegranate, rhubarb and guava juice to
their inventory. Schellhous bought out Utt in
1931 although the company continued to use the
Production reached a peak of 200,000 gallons of
juice in 1965. The company was ahead of its time
in producing juices that could be labeled ”100%
Pure, No Sugar Added.” Queen Isabella jams and
jellies were added to the product mix as well as
boysenberry products that carried the Knott
label. However, grapes and other fruits produced
locally became increasingly hard to find and
Schellhous was forced to buy fruit from other
parts of California.
Utt died in 1951, but Schellhous continued to
run the company until he died in an automobile
accident in 1970. Jack Hall who had joined the
company in 1946 as office manager became
president and served until 1973 when a scarcity
of fruit and increasing competition forced the
company to close. It was calculated that Utt
Juice Co. had produced 7 million gallons of
juice in 50 years.
Cleared of equipment, the building stood empty
until a few years ago when building began on the
recently completed Prospect Village complex.