The history of Pompeian is as rich and colorful as the olive oils crafted by our extended family of farmers. Ever since our humble beginnings in Lucca, Italy in the late 19th century, we’ve been at the forefront of bringing this timeless juice of the fruit to American tables. Steeped in heritage and tradition, Pompeian is a name that's become synonymous with quality and excellence, thanks to the tireless work of our family of farmers and olive oil craftsmen. Their dedication to the ancient craft of olive oil is one you’ll be able to taste in every delicious bottle.
Our Company History
THE LATE 1800s
The story of Pompeian begins in the late 19th century in Lucca, Italy, back when the region was becoming renowned for its cultivation of olive oil. Because Lucca was near the port of Genoa, it was an ideal international trading post, allowing for the export of Pompeian Olive Oil throughout the world. It soon became apparent that the sky was the limit… and deliciousness was the destination. Going our way?
The boom begins—big time. In the United States, Pompeian instantly appealed to the palettes of the burgeoning Mediterranean community, as well as Americans who were just beginning to discover olive oil’s vibrant flavor and culinary versatility. Before long, olive oil was officially a “thing.”
Following the groundswell of success in the United States, a young entrepreneur by the name of Nathan Musher purchased the Pompeian Olive Oil Company in 1906. He continued to produce olive oil in Italy and export the product to the United States. And to think the Pompeian story was only just beginning…
My, how we’ve grown. Pompeian’s warehouse in Baltimore quickly became the catalyst for our expansion. In the late 1920s, the Musher family ceased operations in Lucca due to rising turmoil in Europe, moving business to Baltimore, where olive oil craftsmen still bottle Pompeian today. It was official: Pompeian had found a new home.
THE 1930s AND 1940s
Another entrepreneurial family then joined the Pompeian story. In 1930, the Hoffberger family began leading the company, using their expertise in the food industry to expand the market for olive oil. This family of successful American entrepreneurs had a hand in several packaged goods companies. Oh, and they just so happened to own the Baltimore Orioles! Clearly, we were in good hands.
Under the direction of the Hoffbergers, Pompeian expanded nationally and became the first national olive oil brand. The company quickly established itself as a household name throughout America in the 1940s, where no home worth its salt (or worth its olive oil) would be found without a bottle of Pompeian somewhere in the kitchen.
And then, another exciting development: Pompeian expanded its reach further and wider when the company was acquired by the Moreno family of Spain in 1975.
The Morenos anticipated the emergence of the Mediterranean diet’s influence on the American palate. Owning the company ensured they could import the highest quality olive oil from the Mediterranean while ensuring the product met and exceeded all U.S. health and quality standards. In essence, Pompeian was providing the American consumer with the best possible olive oil. (We still are.)
As you are no doubt discovering, Pompeian has always had a knack for growing and evolving with the times. In 2004, the company began exclusively implementing the highest quality plastic packaging, thus significantly reducing shipping weight and emissions and improving the safety and protection of the olive oils, which are light and heat sensitive.
In 2009, the company was purchased by the Devico family of Morocco. The Devicos also happen to own Aicha, a leading Moroccan food brand. They have demonstrated a longtime passion for crafting exceptional olive oil, an expertise that has proven highly beneficial to the quality of the Pompeian brand in the United States. In fact, Pompeian EVOO was the first brand of olive oil to carry the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) quality monitored seal and has never failed or missed one of the strict requirements or checkpoints set by the USDA or North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) Quality Seal Programs.
These are exciting times for Pompeian. In October 2017, our family announced a strengthened alliance with DCOOP Group of Spain, the largest olive oil cooperative in the world, signing a new agreement that increased the companies’ stakes in one another from 20 percent to 50 percent.
What’s more, Pompeian now has its very own U.S. olive farm - Sunrise Olive Ranch in California. This majestic farm is home to thousands of olive trees and spans 1,050 acres throughout Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County. The Sunrise Olive Ranch features a mill equipped with the world’s most innovative technology available today and grows three varieties of olives, Arbosana, Arbequina, and Koroneiki, for our EVOO. We’re certain at least some of it will be popping up on your dinner table soon, no?
Our history has always been inspired by our farms and the families who tend to our land, our trees and our olives. Honoring their work, our passion and purpose are one in the same: to create the world’s best quality olive oil at the best possible price so everyone around the world can live and eat well. No matter what the future holds for Pompeian we can say that it’s sure to taste absolutely delicious. Now please pass the crudité.