The History of Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate

Feb 13 12:41 2009 Keith McGregor Print This Article

Reese’s Peanut butter chocolate was first manufactured in America in the 1920s when H. B. Reese’s Candy Company introduced a specially processed peanut butter filling with Hershey’s chocolate. The peanut butter cups were the first to be produced, a popular item that has now grown to become a well-known and loved confectionary product enjoyed by people across the globe.

The Reese’s name has a unique heritage. Harry Burnett Reese was born in 1879 on a farm in Frosty Hill,Guest Posting Pensylvania. He was a former dairy employee working for Milton S. Hershey, founder of the Hershey’s Food Corporation. Inspired by Hershey’s success, H. B. Reese left the dairy started his own confectionery business.

Although H. B. Reese’s decision led to the introduction of a now world-famous product that still represents something unique in the candy industry, he experienced much adversity before building a company that thrived on a single product – his peanut butter blend.

Timeline 1879 H. B. Reese is born in Frosty Hill. Pennsylvania 1917 H. B. Reese moves to Hershey, Pennsylvania Early 1920s Reese introduces Johnny Bars (caramel-like molasses) and Lizzie Bars (Coconut Candy) with some success Mid 1920s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups introduced and sold in bulk for use in chocolate assortments Mid 1930s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups sold individually for a penny a piece to the assortment line 1939 - 1945 H. B. Reese discontinued other Reese’s lines to concentrate on peanut butter cups 1940s & 1950s Reese’s Cups gains distribution through wholesalers, vending machine operators and syndicated stores 1957 100,000 sq. ft. Reese’s factory built in Hershey, PA 1963 Hershey purchases H. B. Reese Candy Company 2004 D&D Snacks selected as distributor to Hershey’s Reese’s in the United Kingdom selling Reese’s Cups and Nutrageous into all major UK trade and retail outlets 2008 Reese’s Pieces introduced to the United Kingdom with great success

H. B. Reese was not very fond of farming when he was young, in spite of his family heritage. As a youth, he took a variety of jobs including a country butcher and oil burner selling before moving to the town of Hershey in 1917.

He started working at the dairy owned by Milton S. Hershey. Here Reese became inspired by Hershey’s confectionery range and decided to enter the market himself.

After a short time he left the dairy, moving to Hummelstown and Palmyra, where he started a number of new ventures. He enjoyed some success with Johnny Bars and Lizzie Bars, but eventually moved back to Hershey, living just a few blocks from the Hershey’s manufacturing facility.

Reese sold his peanut butter cups in bulk in the mid 1920s, selling them to the trade in five-pound boxes for use in chocolate assortment boxes. By the mid 1930s, Reese Cups were being sold individually for a penny a piece to the assortment line.

During World War II conditions prompted Reese to discontinue other lines in favour of peanut butter cups, supported by consumer advertising.

Throughout the 1940s and 1950s Reese’s distributed their peanut butter chocolate lines to wholesalers, vending machine operators and syndicated stores. During this time the peanut butter cups gained in popularity across the United States supported in part by their highly recognisable orange and yellow packaging.

The success of Reese’s in the post-war period meant they required a much larger manufacturing facility by the mid 1950s. Reese acquired a tract of land on the western edge of Hershey where they built a state-of-the-art fully automated 100,000 square-foot manufacturing facility. The factory, located on Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, Pennsylvania, opened in August 1957.

Six years later, in 1963, the Hershey Chocolate Company, which was formerly known as the Hershey Food Company, bought it’s neighbour, H.B. Reese’s Candy Company for $23.5 million.

Hershey’s Reese’s peanut butter chocolate is distributed in the United Kingdom by D&D Snacks UK Ltd. They won the import and distribution contract in 2004 selling Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Nutrageous bars into all major trade and retail outlets.

Reese’s Pieces was introduced to the UK in 2008. The product has quickly grown to become a consumer favourite and Reese’s Cups, Nutrageous and Pieces now have a growing consumer fan-base in the United Kingdom.

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Keith McGregor
Keith McGregor

Keith McGregor is a partner of Strawberrysoup, a web design agency with offices in Chichester and Bournemouth. Strawberrysoup specialise in creative web design, content managed websites, search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and graphic design

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