Jelly Belly

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Jelly Belly
  • Goelitz Confectionery Company (1898-2001)
  • Herman Goelitz Candy Company (1921–2001)
Founded1869; 154 years ago (1869) in Belleville, Illinois, U.S.
FounderGustav Goelitz
HeadquartersFairfield, California
Area served
Key people
Herman G Rowland Sr., Chairman[1]
ProductsJelly beans, candy corn, mellocremes, gummies, jells, chocolate confections
Revenue$190 million[1]
Number of employees

Jelly Belly Candy Company, formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Company and Goelitz Confectionery Company, is an American company that manufactures Jelly Belly jelly beans and other candy.[2]

The company is based in Fairfield, California, with a second manufacturing facility in North Chicago, Illinois. A distribution and visitor center in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, began liquidation and closure on August 3, 2020.[3] In October 2008, the company opened a 50,000 sq ft (4,645 m2) manufacturing plant in Rayong, Thailand, where it produces confections for the international market.[4]



Gustav Goelitz came to the United States in 1866 from Germany and in 1869 started the confectionery business Gustav Goelitz in Belleville, Illinois.[5] His younger brothers, Albert and George, emigrated to America soon after joining him in the business. In 1898, the company began manufacturing mellowcreme candies (also called mellow cream, and butter cream). Candy corn, a type of mellowcreme candy, was likely developed by George Renniger, an employee of Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia. The Goelitz Confectionery Company was successful in selling a variety of mellowcreme candy including candy corn.[6][7] In 1904, the company relocated to Chicago and later to North Chicago in 1913.[5]


Herman Goelitz, the son of Gustav, moved to the West Coast to start his own business, Herman Goelitz Candy Company. The company eventually settled in Oakland, California in 1924. In the 1960s, the company began to expand the product line to include jelly beans, various jells, and other confections. "One of those new products was a small and very flavorful Mini Jelly Bean [developed in 1965]."[8][9] The Mini Jelly Bean center had natural flavoring and the inside and outer shell was flavored, which was innovative for the time.

Ronald Reagan first tried the Mini Jelly Beans in 1966. "The then California governor had quit smoking years before and turned to popping candy as a...substitute."[10] Reagan wrote to Herman Rowland Sr. while governor, "It's gotten to the point...where we can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around a jar of jelly beans. We owe you a special measure of thanks for helping keep our state government running smoothly."[10]

In 1976, David Klein, a candy and nut distributor, collaborated with Herman Rowland, president of Herman Goelitz to create a jelly bean using natural purees. David Klein hired the Goelitz company as his contract manufacturer for the jelly beans. Using the Mini Jelly Bean concept, the Jelly Belly jelly bean was created.[11] Klein coined the name "Jelly Belly" as a tribute to blues musician Lead Belly, and was responsible for the design of the product's famous red and yellow trademark.[12]

Klein sold the first Jelly Belly jelly beans in 1976 at an ice cream parlor called Fosselman's in Alhambra, California. The first flavors were Very Cherry, Tangerine, Lemon, Green Apple, Grape, Licorice, Root Beer, and Cream Soda.[13] It was David Klein's idea "to sell them as separate flavors instead of a variety pack...".[14]


Marinus van Dam, product developer and plant manager for the company, oversaw the development of Jelly Belly jelly beans. By the 1980s, many flavors had been developed. In 1980, Klein sold the Jelly Belly trademark.[15] "David Klein sold the Jelly Belly trademark to Rowland for $4.8 million, paid in monthly installments over 20 years, which Klein split with a partner."[16] The Jelly Belly trademark was registered August 3, 1982.[17] The Mr. Jelly Belly character was developed in 1983. Prior to the development of the character David Klein called himself "Mr. Jelly Belly."

The general public became aware of President Ronald Reagan's preference for Jelly Belly jelly beans in 1981.[18] The company supplied Reagan with Jelly Belly jelly beans during his eight years of presidency.[19] Chairman Rowland recalls, "We were thrilled by press reports that President Reagan gave jars of Jelly Belly jelly beans to visiting dignitaries."[18] (Reagan, however, "started to favor M&M's as the official White House candy during his eighth and final year in office.")[20] Reagan made them the first jelly beans in space, sending them on the Space Shuttle Challenger during the STS-7 mission in 1983, surprising the astronauts.[21]

In 2001, the company renamed itself to Jelly Belly Candy Company.[11]


Various Jelly Belly jelly beans

Jelly beans[edit]

The company's signature product, the Jelly Belly jelly bean, comes in more than 50 varieties ranging from traditional flavors like orange, lemon lime, and very cherry, to more exotic ones like cinnamon, pomegranate, cappuccino, buttered popcorn, and chili-mango.[22]

Jelly Belly Candy Company manufactures numerous specialty Jelly Belly jelly beans with licensed products like Tabasco sauce and uncommon candy tastes like egg nog and pancakes with maple syrup.[23] A few flavors such as lychee and green tea, are sold only in markets outside the United States.[23]

Several flavors have been based on popular alcoholic beverages, beginning with Mai Tai in 1977.[24] Over the years, new additions have included strawberry daiquiri, margarita, mojito, and piña colada.[24] Draft beer, a flavor inspired by Hefeweizen ale, was introduced in 2014.[24][25] All flavors are entirely alcohol-free.[24]

"Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans" were inspired by the Harry Potter book series and featured intentionally gruesome flavors such as "Vomit", "Earwax", "Skunk Spray", "Rotten Egg" and "Grass". A similar product dubbed "BeanBoozled" pairs lookalike "normal" flavors with weird flavors, such as "Peach" and "Barf".[26][27]

"Sport Beans" are jelly beans designed to provide physical energy and enhance athletic performance.[8][28] They contain carbohydrates, electrolytes (in the form of sodium and potassium), and vitamins B1, B2, B3 and C.[29] "Extreme Sport Beans" include the additional boost of caffeine.[28][29]

Other candies[edit]

The company makes over 100 different confections including chocolates, licorice, gummies, and candy corn.[30]


Entrance to the Fairfield factory and visitor's center

The company operates three manufacturing plants in Fairfield, California; North Chicago, Illinois; and Rayong, Thailand. A fourth facility in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, was a distribution center and a visitor center until liquidation began on August 3, 2020; it closed. [31][32][33]


Jelly Belly Candy Company factory in Fairfield, California[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Scully, Carla (February 11, 2013). "Top 100 Candy Companies". Candy Industry. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  2. ^ "Goelitz Announces New Corporate Identity". The Gourmet Retailer. November 1, 2000. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  3. ^ "Jelly Belly to Close Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Store and Tour". Jelly Belly to Close Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Store and Tour. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  4. ^ "Candymaker overcomes global market challenges at new facility in Thailand". Packaging Digest. March 31, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Bearden-White, Christina (March 3, 2013). "Gustav Goelitz (1846-1901)". Immigrant Entrepreneurship. German Historical Institute. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  6. ^ "The History of Candy Corn: A Halloween Candy Favorite". Better Homes and Gardens. 2015-08-28. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  7. ^ "The Saccharine History of Candy Corn | National Geographic | The Plate". 2015-10-27. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  8. ^ a b "How I Made My Millions: Episode 14". CNBC. February 28, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  9. ^ "A Hill of Beans, Jelly Belly on CNBC". Jelly Belly. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Wilhelm, Maria (February 23, 1981). "If the Reagan Administration Is Full of Beans, Blame Jelly Belly Baron Herman Rowland". People Magazine. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Murphy, Kate (June 26, 2008). "Not Just Another Jelly Bean". The New York Times. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  12. ^ Knoll, Corina (June 22, 2011). "Jelly Belly creator sour over lost legacy but sees sweet future: David Klein now gives midday $5 tours at his no-frills candy factory in Covina while he brainstorms ideas for a new line of gourmet jelly beans in exotic flavors as he seeks what he craves most: recognition". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Jelly Belly Jelly Beans Celebrate Three Decades and Bean-Filled Future" (Press release). Jelly Belly. November 8, 2013. Archived from the original on October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  14. ^ Wade, Tony (March 29, 2013). "Not-so-sweet story of original 'Mr. Jelly Belly'". Daily Republic. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  15. ^ Rogers, John (October 30, 2011). "Former Mr. Jelly Belly looking for sweet comeback". AP Online. Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 12, 2017. Retrieved March 8, 2017. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  16. ^ Wade, Tony (March 29, 2013). "Not-so-sweet Story of Original Mr. Jelly Belly". Retrieved May 26, 2015.
  17. ^ "Jelly Belly Trademark". Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  18. ^ a b Rowland, Herman G. Sr. (2012). "The Candy Man Can". Chicken soup for the entrepreneur's soul: Advice & inspiration for fulfilling dreams. Cos Cob, CT: Backlist, LLC, a unit of Chicken Soup for the Soul Pub. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-4532-7622-8. Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  19. ^ "Jelly Belly jelly beans and Ronald Reagan". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. January 2013. Archived from the original on December 31, 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
  20. ^ "This Is Why M&Ms Are The Official Candy Of The White House". January 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  21. ^ McCreary, Donna D. (July 9, 2009). "President Ronald Reagan and Blue Jelly Beans". Great History. Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2019-09-07.
  22. ^ "Jelly Belly Flavor Guides". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  23. ^ a b Pahle, Rebecca (April 16, 2016). "22 of the World's Craziest Jelly Bean Flavors". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on December 14, 2016.
  24. ^ a b c d "Jelly Belly Unveils Beer Flavored Jelly Bean". Entertainment Close-Up. Close-Up Media. January 30, 2014. Archived from the original on March 9, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2018. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  25. ^ Nichols, Laura (May 31, 2014). "Jelly Belly Fans Quench Their Thirst with Draft Beer-Flavored Candies". PRWeek (US). Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  26. ^ "15 new snacks to try for Halloween 2015". CNN News. October 28, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  27. ^ Sera (April 2, 2009). "Candy Review: Jelly Belly's BeanBoozled". Candy Addict. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Andersen, Charlotte Hilton. "12 Tasty Alternatives to Energy Gels". Shape. Archived from the original on June 30, 2017.
  29. ^ a b Adams, Alison (September 11, 2017). "Are Jelly Belly Beans a Good Source of Quick Energy for Running?". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  30. ^ "Jelly Belly Confections". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  31. ^ "Jelly Belly to Close Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Store and Tour". Jelly Belly to Close Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin Store and Tour. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
  32. ^ Holman, Donna. "Jelly Belly Center (WI)". Factory Tours USA. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  33. ^ Saunders, Jessica (July 27, 2008). "Jelly Belly prepares to open first overseas plant as demand sweetens". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2015-04-15.

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