February 6, 2007


And the man behind the brand is...
Harry Reese

For the first 38 years of his life Harry Reese of York County, Pennsylvania survived through a succession of menial jobs before he landed a job managing one of Milton Hershey’s dairy farms during World War I. Inspired by Hershey’s great success Reese struck out on his own.

He moved to nearby Hummelstown, Pennsylvania and began boiling a mixture of caramel-like molasses and coconut. His Johnny Bar failed but his Lizzie Bar was successful enough for Reese to move back to Hershey and buy a plant on Chocolate Avenue. It was 1923; Reese was 44 years old.

On the suggestion of a former customer in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Reese began tinkering with a special peanut butter wrapped in milk chocolate. Reese originally sold his peanut butter cups in 5-pound boxes to be used by candy wholesalers in assortments. But by the 1930s he shifted to penny sizes for individual sale and it wasn’t long before the entire factory was devoted to manufacturing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Harry Reese died in 1956 at the age of 77, leaving the company in the hands of his six sons. In 1963 his company was purchased by his old employer and neighbor, Hershey’s. It was the first significant outside acquisition by the candy giant. Today the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is the most popular candy bar in the United States and Canada. It is made the same way Harry Reese made them three-quarters of a century ago.

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