A Family Making Candy Since 1869
Our beginnings are traced back to a family named Goelitz. When two young brothers emigrated from Germany to make their mark in America, they set the family on its candymaking course. In 1869, just two years after arriving in America, Gustav Goelitz bought an ice cream and candy store in Belleville, Ill., and his brother, Albert was sent out in a horse drawn wagon to sell their sweets to nearby communities.
Then the second generation of the family jumped on the band wagon of candy innovations by making a new type of candy, then called “buttercream” candies, including Candy Corn, a sweet we’ve made since about 1900 (and still use the same recipe). These candies carried the family through the Great Depression and two world wars.
Today, the great-grandsons of Gustav Goelitz, the fourth generation, are still carrying on the tradition of making candy.
Jelly Beans, an American original
The great-great jelly bean ancestor first appeared in the 1800s, but jelly candies of one kind or another have been around for thousands of years. “Turkish delight,” a citrus, honey and rose water jell, has been putting smiles on kids’ faces since biblical times.
Fast forward 250 years. When the penny candy craze came along in America during the late 1800’s, candy makers began experimenting with tricky sugar candies. The jelly candy inspired by Turkish delight was shaped into a bean and given a soft shell using a French process called “panning”. The first jelly bean was created by an American candymaker whose name has since been lost in time.
Although the penny candy boom waned a bit when America fell in love with chocolate in the early 1900’s, there was a real chocolate shortage when most chocolate went to overseas troops during World War II. So, patriotic Americans once again discovered their urge for non-chocolate sweet treats like the common candy store jelly beans.
The birth of the world’s most famous jelly bean
The idea was born in Los Angeles, just next door to Hollywood. Yes, the home of countless famous movie stars is also the birthplace of “the original gourmet jelly bean.”
Back in 1976, a Los Angeles candy distributor had an idea for a jelly bean made with natural flavourings. So he called up the candymakers at Jelly Belly (formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Co.) who had a reputation for making the very best candies.
Creating “true-to-life” flavours was, well, a natural evolution. The candymakers cooked up a recipe for a new kind of jelly bean — intensely flavoured throughout, with natural ingredients for flavouring whenever possible. In 1976 the first eight Jelly Belly flavours were born: Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Licorice. Funny enough they are still some of the most popular flavours made.
The rise to the top, or, what a long, tasty trip it’s “bean.” A furor arose when people tasted Jelly Belly beans for the first time. Wow, what flavour! Soon Jelly Belly became the favourite candy of President Ronald Reagan, who made the beans a staple in the Oval Office and on Air Force One. (President Reagan’s passion for jelly beans inspired Blueberry flavour, which was cooked up so he could serve red, white, and blue beans at his inaugural parties.) Diplomats and world leaders clamored to have Jelly Belly beans. And guess what? Jelly Belly was also the first jelly bean in outer space. Free floating, weightless Jelly Belly beans were sent on the space shuttle Challenger in 1983 as a presidential surprise for the astronauts. Coincidentally it was the same mission that boasted another bit of history — the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride.
Today, Jelly Belly is the world’s #1 gourmet jelly bean, the bean of choice for all those with the most discerning taste, and made in 50 amazing and tasty flavours. Check out the menu to see all the flavours.
More than a hill of beans
To the surprise and delight of Jelly Belly bean fans, the descendents of Gustav Goelitz continue to cook up some of the best loved candies in the world under the brand name Confections by Jelly Belly. Today the company still makes Candy Corn and more than 100 mouthwatering candies, including such delights as chocolates, gummies, sour candies and confections for all the major seasons. Great grandpa Gustav would be proud.