The Jelly Belly Candy Company was originally named The Herman Goelitz Candy Company and was founded in 1898. However, as early as 1869, the Goelitz brothers had been making sweets and ice cream which they would sell, using their wagons, to Belleville and nearby communities in Illinois.
The second generation of Goelitz was responsible for creating and introducing a new candy to the market. This new confection was called “buttercream” candies, and they were a hit in the market. The buttercream (including Candy Corn) candies were what helped the business survive two World Wars and the Great Depression.
In the 1960s, the company, led by Herman Goelitz Rowland, Senior, entered into the production of jelly beans. The company produced a variety of jelly bean candies, from regular sized jelly beans to miniature ones. What made the company’s jelly beans famous was that they were flavored both at the center and in the shells. In 1967, then California Governor Ronald Reagan discovered the company’s jelly beans. He was such a fan of the product that he even wrote a letter saying how they can hardly begin a meeting or start decision-making without eating jelly beans. Even when Reagan became President, his love for jelly beans never stopped. It is said that jelly beans were always present in the Oval office and aboard both Marine One and Air Force One. President Reagan even sent Jelly Belly jellybeans to the astronauts of the 1983 Challenger space shuttle as a presidential gift.
In 1976, the company worked with an LA-based candy distributor to create jelly beans which were created using natural flavorings. This was the birth of the company’s first natural flavored jelly beans. The eight flavors were Very Cherry, Cream Soda, Green Apple, Grape, Lemon, Tangerine, Root Beer and Licorice. Even today, these are still the company’s most popular flavors.
More than a hundred years have passed since the company was founded, and yet its products are still very popular among candy-lovers. The company’s jelly beans are considered the number one gourmet jelly beans in the world. Currently, the company produces about 15,000 tons of confectionery every year. It has manufacturing facilities in Fairfield (California), Pleasant Prairie (Wisconsin) and North Chicago (Illinois). Aside from the ever-popular jelly beans, the company still produces Candy Corn, along with other confectioner products like chocolates, sour candies and gummies.
• Headquarters: Fairfield, California
• Ownership Type: Private
• No. of Employees: 675
• Geography: worldwide
• Demography: retail confectionery consumers
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