A FAMILY HISTORY
Jelly Belly Candy Company
Jelly Belly Candy Company, formerly known as Goelitz Confectionery Company has operated for five generations of the same family and been in continuous operation since 1898.
Jelly Belly Candy Company is a family owned and operated business, now in its fifth generation of candy making. The firm has plants in California and Illinois where over 150 year-round and seasonal confections are made. At the beginning of 2009 a manufacturing facility in Rayong, Thailand was opened in order to meet increasing demand from international markets.
Herman Goelitz Rowland is CEO and great grandson of Gustav Goelitz, who emigrated from Germany in 1867 and was the family’s first confectioner. The family began making sweets in 1869. The current company operated by the family has been in continuous operation since 1898. It was formerly known as Goelitz Confectionery Company.
Rowland is joined in the business by his cousin, William H. Kelley, who oversees the company’s North Chicago production facility. Kelley is also the great-grandson of Gustav Goelitz, and his father and grandfather before him worked in the business. Rowland’s children have also taken a leadership role in the company where family comes first.
Gustav Goelitz, the man who set the family on its sweet course established a candy making business in 1869 in Belleville, Illinois. He was joined by his brother, Albert, and together they sold handmade candies from a horse drawn cart. Soon the Goelitz name developed a reputation for high quality confections as the brothers expanded operations. It is a company tradition carried on today and one which has served the firm well in the development of new products, like the innovative Jelly Belly jelly bean introduced in 1976.
A telephone call from David Klein, a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur asking for a jelly bean with natural ingredients, put the master confectioners to work. The process of perfecting the recipes to produce full-flavoured, authentic tasting beans was long and complex. Herman Rowland created the Jelly Belly jelly from fruit purees and juice concentrates, with the flavour integral to the centre and shells of the beans. Nothing like this had ever been done in the jelly bean word before! Jelly Belly jelly beans were an immediate success when first introduced in southern California.
Goelitz Confectionery Company was thrown into national prominence when the presidential candidate Ronald Reagan who had long since been a fan of Goelitz confectionery, was photographed and interviewed about his fondness for Jelly Belly beans during the 1980 election campaign. Within a year of the 1981 inaugural ceremonies, when three-and-a-half tons of red, white and blue Jelly Belly beans were consumed during the festivities, the company was backlogged using round-the-clock shifts in both plants to keep up with orders.
Ronald Reagan remained a true fan of Jelly Belly jelly beans and generously distributed them to White House visitors and people he met all over the world. He once famously stated when in office "we can hardly start a meeting or make a decision without passing around the jar of jelly beans" and determined "you can tell a lot about a fellow by his way of eating jelly beans."
1986, a new plant and corporate headquarters were opened in Fairfield, California and this facility doubled in size in 1992. Six years later, the company changed its name to Jelly Belly Candy Co. It now employs over 800 people in three different plants and the famous jelly beans are sold in 73 countries worldwide. Jelly Belly Candy Company today makes fifty “official” flavours of Jelly Belly jelly beans but in fact there are over 100 flavours available at any one time.
Lisa Rowland Brasher was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Jelly Belly Candy Company in March 2015. She will lead all executive and operational activities for the company and will report to the company Chair of the Board, Herman G. Rowland Sr, her father.
"This company was founded on the traditions of family and quality candy. We intend to remain a family company, and I'm proud that the firth and sixth generations are stepping up to drive the business forward. I have great confidence that this appointment will position the company for successive generations to carry on the 146 year tradition of candy manufacturing" said Herm.