The Jelly Belly Candy Company or Jelly Belly based in Fairfield California, makes Jelly Belly jelly beans as well as a variety of other candies, sodas and household goods.
Jelly Belly jelly beans were invented in 1976. They were the first jelly beans to be sold in single flavours and to come with a menu of flavours. The original eight flavours of Jelly Belly jelly beans introduced in 1976 were: Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Liquorice and Grape.Jelly Belly jelly beans were invented in 1976. They were the first jelly beans to be sold in single flavours and to come with a menu of flavours. The original eight flavours of Jelly Belly jelly beans introduced in 1976 were: Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, Liquorice and Grape.
Jelly Belly's sweet 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 Illionois. He and his brother, Albert were sent out in a horse drawn wagon to sell their sweets to nearby communities.
Then the second generation of the family jumped on the candy wagon creating a new delicious range called buttercream candies.
This included the Candy Corn, a sweet they've made since about 1900 and still using the same recipe today. These candies carried the family through the Great Depression and two World Wars. Today, the great-grandsons of Gustav Goelitz, are still carrying on the tradition of making candy.
In 1960 along came 19-year-old Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr., fourth generation candy maker who planned to carry on the family candy business. The times were lean for his family's Oakland, Californian business which was best known for making candy corn. In a leap of faith that boggles the mind today, Herm and his family decided not to close the doors, but to expand and begin making jelly beans, Chocolate Dutch Mints®, America's first gummi bears, and jells. Giant jelly beans, regular jelly beans, miniature jelly beans, all sorts of styles were pouring out of the candy factory.
The extra touch that became a signature for the company were jelly beans with flavours cooked into the centre and in the shells using the very best ingredients regardless of cost - simply terrific tasting jelly beans.
In 1967 some of those beans managed to catch the attention of the Governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Throughout his two terms in office, the Governor ate Herm's jelly beans and ultimately wrote that famous letter saying "we can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans." You can see a replica of the letter at the Jelly Belly Visitor Centre.
The birth of the world's most famous jelly bean
The idea was born in Los Angeles, just next door to Hollywood. That's right - 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 Herm at Jelly Belly Candy Company (in those days it was still known as Herman Goelitz Candy Co) and an historic collaboratiohn began between candy maker and marketing guru. Creating "true-to-life" flavours was, well, a natural evolution.
The candy makers cooked up a recipe for a new kind of jelly bean - intensely flavoured in the style Goelitz had developed with flavours in the shell and in the centre, this time using natural ingredients for flavourings wherever possible.
The first eight Jelly Belly flavours - Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Liquorice are still some of the most popular flavours made to this day. Fans were delighted but there were more surprises in store when Chocolate Pudding and Buttered Popcorn followed.
A furore arose when people tasted Jelly Belly jelly beans for the first time. When Ronald Reagan was elected US President in 1980 he made public his love for Jelly Belly jelly beans and they soon became a staple in the Oval Office Air Force One and meetings with diplomats and world leaders . Jelly Belly were also the first jelly bean in outer space.
Free floating, weightless Jelly Belly jelly 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.
Jelly Belly is now a global favourite snack. It is the world's Number One gourmet jelly bean and the first choice - some say the only choice - for those with discerning taste. These wonderful jelly beans continue to surprise and delight the bean eating public by leading the way in incredible flavour development. There are currently 50 "official flavours" of Jelly Belly and taking account of the full range, there are actually a staggering 90 different flavours to chose from at any one time.
Quality manufacturing costs more in labour, ingredients and volume. Through the company's history, the goal has been to make the best quality piece of candy on the market, regardless of cost. Jelly Belly Candy Co uses the best, and most times, expensive ingredients. The cost is secondary to the flavour. It was this commitment to excellence and authenticity that led inexorably to the gourmet jelly bean. The concept was revolutionary but it worked.
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 2500 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, but it was probably early in the 1800s. An 1861 advertisement recommended sending jelly beans to soldiers fighting in the Civil War.
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 of it 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.Quick Facts
Jelly Belly - the world's most famous jelly beans. Delicious gourmet jelly bean candies expertly prepared in the USA.
Jelly Belly produces 17,000 tonnes of candy per year!
Jelly Belly officially has 50 flavours