In 1866, Simon Violet and a pharmacist friend, both from Thuir, in the Pyrénées Orientales region of France, invented a new quinine-based aperitif. Benefiting from the fashion for quinine tonic wines, Byrrh soon became popular throughout France. Starting in 1903, advertising poster competitions were launched to promote the brand. Boosted by extensive advertising campaigns, Byrrh was a huge hit in the 1930s. In 1935 it was the leading aperitif brand in France, with sales reaching 35 million litres. In 1976, Byrrh became part of Pernod Ricard.