The Roll

10 things you didn't know about zig-zag

Knowing all there is to know about your favorite rolling paper brand begins here! There is no denying that Zig-Zag is one of the most iconic smoki...

Knowing all there is to know about your favorite rolling paper brand begins here! There is no denying that Zig-Zag is one of the most iconic smoking accessories brands. It happens so due to Zig-Zag's rich history, its impact on pop culture, and its innovative approach to manufacturing.

Whether you're a die-hard fan or merely dabbling in Zig-Zag products, this article will enrich your smoking experience and knowledge of the brand. Who is this mysterious man featured in the French Orange booklet? How has Zig-Zag influenced the world's culture? Stay with us to find it all out!

140 Years and Counting

Yes, that's right. Zig-Zag is over 140 years old! It was in 1879 when brothers Maurice and Jacques Braunstein established the "Papeterie de Gassicourt" in Paris, France. The paper production plant began purchasing large rolls of paper and then processing these into sheets of usable rolling papers. The processing plant originated in western Paris and just in a matter of several years became not only a European but also a global production site.

It may be no surprise that rolling papers have been around for centuries. But they weren't always as sophisticated as they are today. If you used rolling papers 100s of years ago, you could forget about gummed edges, cut corners, and cones. You would most likely be using scrap paper or newspaper for your rolls. Because of the increasing demand for rolling papers, companies like Zig-Zag began to make paper specifically designed for smoking. Thanks, Zig-Zag!

Ever since the early days, Zig-Zag has been innovating and delivering an elevated smoking experience to millions of smokers around the world. From the classic and all-time best-selling French Orange to the more recent Organic Hemp range, Zig-Zag brings you slow-smoking rolling papers. But there is also a heap of innovative products available, such as pre-rolled cones and tips, rolling trays, and rolling machines. Zig-Zag's got you covered in all departments.

Zig-Zag's Packaging Innovation 

With gummed edges, pre-rolled cones, and an overwhelming amount of sizes, we're taking for granted what had been a real innovation back in the day. Just 15 years after the French brothers established the processing plant in Paris, they birthed one of the longest-standing innovations in the world of rolling papers.

The simple accordion-like interleaving of the papers within the rolling paper booklet allowed the other to be ready as one was pulled free. These convenient auto-dispensing booklets were far easier to use than the flat-packed or bound booklets of the time. Six years later, the Braunstein brothers won a gold medal at the Paris World's Fair, for this innovation. After a few years, the company would trademark "Zig-Zag" as a nod to their zig-zagging innovation.

A century later, this feature has become a rolling paper industry standard. You will be hard-pressed to find a rolling paper company that doesn't use the zig-zagging auto-dispensing feature in their booklets. Next time you're plucking papers from your booklet give a thought to the French brothers who made things simpler for you and millions of smokers. 


Swiss Quality

The brothers Braunstein continued to expand their rolling paper empire. To keep up with demand, they built new production facilities. The main production plant in Saint Aubin moved to Thonon-Les-Bains in 1919. This town is in eastern France, situated on the banks of Lake Geneva, also known as Lac Léman.

Being located just below the Alps on the banks of Lake Geneva gave the new plant access to fresh mountain water from the Alps. It would soon usher in a whole new level of quality for Zig-Zag's paper production.

To this day, the high water quality offered by Lake Geneva contributes to keeping the premium standards of consistency at Zig-Zag. Interestingly, a single industrial reel of paper manufactured at the plant at lake Geneva weighs 550LB and is more than 15 miles in length. This is before it is cut and packaged.

The Captain

Have you ever wondered who's face is on the pack of Zig-Zag Rolling Papers? The story behind the mystery man predates Zig-Zag's innovations and even their first production plant. The year is 1855. The Crimean War Rages on. French soldiers, also called Zouaves, fight in allied groups. During the Siege of Sevastopol, one Zouave took a load off his feet to enjoy a smoke.

A favorite smoking method of that time and place was a simple clay pipe. Legend has it that this Zouave raised his neatly packed pipe to his lips as he struck a match. At that very moment, a stray bullet shattered the poor soldier's pipe into a million pieces.

On that fateful day, nothing would get in the way of the Zouave's smoke. He proceeded to tear a strip of paper from his gunpower sack and roll up his smoke. This story is what inspired the Zig-Zag brand. The legend has stuck around and stands as a symbol of Zig-Zag innovation.


Dre's Album

Long before the 1990s, Zig-Zag had become a mainstay in the world of rolling papers. It was in 1992, however, when Californian rapper Dr. Dre tipped his cap to the brand by incorporating Zig-Zag's artwork on his debut album, "The Cronic." The album cover featured Dre's face encapsulated within the classic Zig-Zag artwork taking the place of the famous French soldier.

This act of creativity brought more attention to Zig-Zag, while "The Chronic" went on to earn the triple platinum status. It wasn't the first time for Zig-Zag to pop up in pop culture, yet it was a perfect pairing that would cement Zig-Zag's place in popular culture.

Photo by
 Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Zig-Zag's Influence on Pop Culture

Decades before "The Chronic", Janis Joplin and her band, "The Big Brother and the Holding Company" were paying homage to Zig-Zag. The band used the famous Zig-Zag artwork on concert posters in the 1960s. It was one of the first times an artist would reference the rolling paper company.

Later Zig-Zag would appeal to its customers with the words "Zig-Zag Wants You!" in a marketing campaign of its own. It is said to be a reference to the American Uncle Sam draft posters that were popular back then.

Zig-Zag would go on to be referenced by well-known recording artists. Afroman, Eazy-E, Eminem, and Snoop Dog are just a few of them! Zig-Zag would even make it into "The Shoelace" — a poem by American poet Charles Bukowski.

Again and again, artists refer to Zig-Zag in their works. It further cements the icon brand into popular culture. Zig-Zag is here to stay. Dedicated to providing high-quality smoking products while being immortalized in the works of artists.


Burn One / Plant One

It will come as no surprise that paper is produced from wood. Although Zig-Zag uses other materials like hemp and flax, wood remains the main consumable. Aspiring to become carbon neutral and preserve the forests, Zig-Zag has teamed up with One Tree Planted. For every order over $15, a tree is planted.

To this date, Zig-Zag has planted thousands of trees and shows no sign of slowing down. The aim is to plant millions of trees to offset paper production. You can do your part for the environment by supporting a brand dedicated to making a difference.


Zig-Zag Studio

Not only has Zig-Zag influenced worldwide smoking culture, but it has left its mark on popular culture as a whole. Artists have co-created experiences with Zig-Zag for many years. Zig-Zag studio is an extension of this relationship with artists and creatives.

By featuring content and entertainment by some of the world's top artists, Zig-Zag hopes to inspire more creatives to do what they do best - to create. This platform will throw the spotlight on members of the Zig-Zag community along with new products and merchandise. Zig-Zag studio is a place to co-create and inspire. Watch this space for new and exciting features from the Zig-Zag community that will leave you inspired to create and engage.

Along with content, you will find Zig-Zag branded merch, that features modern iterations of the classic and influential artwork. Be bold, stand out, and dare to create while sporting Zig-Zag swag.


Wide Range of Products

Zig-Zag is most known for its premium slow-burning rolling papers like the classic and beloved by many, French Orange. Still, there is a wide range of papers to choose from, including Zig-Zag's Organic Hemp, Unbleached and Ultra-thin papers.

Each type of rolling paper offers a unique smoking experience that will suit everyone, even those with whimsical tastes. While Zig-Zag Organic Hemp papers have a mild and earthy flavor, ultra-thin papers offer an option that imparts little to no taste to your smoke.

You may be familiar with 1 1/4 size and the much-loved King-Size but there is a range of sizes you may not be familiar with. 1 1/2 is a lesser-known size that offers more width than the classic 1 1/4 size. There is also a King-Slim which is essentially a King-Size paper but thinner. Willing to roll slim pinner joints? King-Slim will get you there.

Mix it up - explore the variety. You don't have to settle on just one. These rolling papers come in several sizes to suit your lifestyle and tailor your experience. When it comes to rolling trays and filter tips, Zig-Zag has you covered. Check out the Zig-Zag shop for everything on offer.

Zig-Zag Offers You Convenience

Joint rolling by hand can be challenging. With practice, it does become easier, yet a more convenient and less time-consuming method is necessary sometimes. Whether you're a novice or an experienced joint roller, you may be looking for ways to speed up the process or make it easier. Zig-Zag has a few products aimed at convenience.

Pre-rolled cones will help you to create the perfect joint easily. Cone papers are essentially an empty shell of a joint that simply requires filling. Once you have ground your herb, fill the empty shell from the front end, pack your herb, and light up. It is that simple.

Zig-Zag Cones are available in 1 1/4 and king size. The classic 1 1/4 size comes in a box of 6 and the King-Size comes in a box containing three cones. While cones can easily be damaged, this crush proof-box protects your cones. You can toss the box into a backpack or handbag without destroying the paper cones. They are also available in ultra-thin, which is perfect for connoisseurs who want to add little to no influence to the taste of their herb.

If you prefer to roll a joint by hand but want an alternative to crafting rolling tips, try Zig-Zag pre-rolled filter tips. They offer just that. While you can use virtually any card stock to create a filter tip, it can be an added hassle.

Zig-Zag offers filter tips in a booklet. These require rolling, but Zig-Zag's pre-rolled tips are rolled and ready to use! This box of 24 will have you rolling in no time! Besides convenience, they are unbleached, biodegradable, vegan-friendly, GMO-free, and free from dye and chlorine!



With a long and weaving history, Zig-Zag has not only dominated the world of rolling papers but has impacted popular culture. From the legend of the Zouave and his shattered pipe to early innovations, Zig-Zag has created a legacy that has stood 140 years and counting. Over the decades, Zig-Zag has influenced artists of all kinds.

It continues to nurture the creative spirit through Zig-Zag studio to this day. Zig-Zag is even committed to making the art of rolling more accessible by creating products centered around conveniences such as pre-rolled cones, tips, rolling trays, and machines. Whatever comes next, Zig-Zag will continue to provide premium rolling papers that enhance your smoking experience.