W & R Jacob and Company started producing the ‘’Club Milk’’ biscuit in Dublin just before the outbreak of World War I. It became a popular brand across Ireland. The confection consisted of two rectangular Marie biscuits forming a filled sandwich using a cocoa cream, then covered in thick milk chocolate. Each bar was wrapped in foil, and then further wrapped in a paper outer wrapping.
Development in Great Britain
It is unclear exactly when Club Milk biscuits were first imported to England, perhaps beginning informally owing to the trade route between Ireland and the English port of Liverpool. Jacob’s had already established a factory in Liverpool in 1914, and subsequently began producing the Club Milk there.
In 1970 the Irish and British parts of the Jacob’s company split into two firms. The Club biscuit had by this time become popular throughout Great Britain, and was marketed in five varieties. The original Club Milk (made with milk chocolate) was joined by a Club Plain (made with plain chocolate). The term “Club” was expanded for this new product, with a golf ball used to illustrate the wrapper, rather than the Club suit of cards. Two flavoured versions, Club Orange and Club Mint, were made by adding flavoring to the cocoa cream. The Club Fruit variant included raisins in the cocoa cream between the two biscuits. A further Club Honeycomb variety followed.
In the 1990s there was a range called Jacob's Club Class 3 versions with a television advert "Rhino Swan Lake".
During the late 2000s and early 2010s came Jacob's Club Cake bars.
From the mid 1970s into the 1990s Jacob’s used the advertising slogan “If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit, join our Club”. This was set to music, and used as a theme in television advertising campaigns during these same decades. In 2012 the jingle was voted by a sample of British adults to be "the seventh catchiest jingle of all time".
Changes of ownership
In the mid 1990s both the Irish and British Jacob’s companies were acquired by French-owned Groupe Danone who redesigned both the biscuit and the packaging. The two biscuits held together by cocoa cream were replaced with a single biscuit, topped with cocoa cream. The real chocolate exterior was replaced with a thinner layer of chocolate-based coating. The original milk and plain biscuits were discontinued, whilst the flavoured varieties were repackaged in cellophane flow pack.
In September 2004 the Jacob’s brand was sold by Danone to British-based United Biscuits, who restored some of the traditional elements of the Club biscuit, including the two-layer packaging, with an inner foil wrapper and an outer paper wrapper. At present[when?] they have not returned to the double-biscuit structure of the bar itself. The Irish part of the company was sold to Fruitfield Foods, to form Jacob Fruitfield Food Group, which has led to legal battles over the use of the Jacob's brand name.
From 2013 United Biscuits rebranded the product as McVities Club, using the Jacob's brand for savoury biscuits and McVities for sweet products.
|Name||Wrapper colour||Wrapper symbol||Notes|
|Club Milk||Red||Club suit symbol||The original biscuit. Now discontinued.|
|Club Plain||Mid green||Golf ball||The original biscuit, but plain chocolate. Now discontinued.|
|Club Orange||Orange||Orange with leaves||Long-term flavour option, still in production.|
|Club Fruit||Purple||Grapes with vine leaves||Long-term flavour option, still in production.|
|Club Mint||Dark green||Mint leaves||Long-term flavour option, still in production.|
|Club Coffee||Mid brown||Coffee cup & saucer||Launched in the 1980s. Now discontinued.|
|Club Wafer||Dark blue||Bitten corner of bar||Launched in the 1980s. Now discontinued.|
|Club Chocolate||Blue||Cocoa beans||Launched in the 1990s. Now discontinued.|
|Club Honeycomb||Yellow||Rippled honey||Launched in 2012.|
Irish production resumed
Without resolution of the dispute between United Biscuits (UK) and Fruitfield (Ireland) over the use of the Jacob's brand, the Irish company resumed production of the Club Milk bar. It returned to the original pattern of two biscuits joined by cocoa cream, and a thick covering of milk chocolate. Plain and wafer versions have also been produced. These products are available in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish company makes reference to the UK version of the biscuit in its promotion of the Irish Club Milk, by stating "forget any poor imitations", before outlining the features of the biscuit as now produced in Ireland.
There were limted editions of Club Orange, Club Mint some years. There is also a Wafer version originally called Choc Wafer during the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 2019 a new version called Club Chunky was launched.
In the 1970s there was a TV advert with a bishop that used the popular jingle Club Milk is "Best After All".
During the late 1980s and early 1990s a series of TV adverts using the slogan "If you're going to have a cuppa, have a Club" was used. But in 1995 a similar song was used with cuppa dropped the new jingle song was called "You to have a Club".
In 2006 the last television advertisement was "Some kind of Wonder full" a version used for most of their Biscuits of course.
- "Club Milk". Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown.com. 15 August 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- "Club Chocolate Biscuit Commercial". Youtube. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- "Just One Cornetto voted catchiest jingle of all time". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- "Jacob's Club". The Great British Diet. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- Bamford, Vince (9 December 2013). "UBUK makes McVitie's its biscuit powerhouse". The Grocer. William Reed Business Media Ltd. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- Marquis, Matthew. "Jacob's Club". The Great British Diet. Archived from the original on 15 February 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
- Chocolate Mission's review of the new flavour.
- Statement quoted from Jacob's Fruitfield advertising on this Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine website.