Gaétan Picon, born in 1809, was a scholar who had an apprenticeship at the distilleries of Aix-en-Provence, Toulon and Marseille. In 1837, after taking a trip to Algeria where he had been in the French Army, he invented Picon.
Gaétan Picon went on to create the first distillery to produce African bitters in an Algerian village. He then went on to open a number of other distilleries in Constantine, Bône and Algiers.
In 1872, Gaétan Picon returned to France, creating the first factory for the production of Picon in Marseille, which is still in use today.
Picon is commonly drunk as an aperitif, which traditionally accompanies a beer in the east and north of France.