A “Sweet” German Topic


A “Sweet” German Topic

I have recently put out some posts on my X (Twitter) handle – @e_r_richards – about contributions that German-Americans have made to the candy industry in America.

Below you will find a more cohesive list of Germans, German-speaking immigrants, and German-Americans, who have added to the fabric of America and “sweetened” American life. These individuals (and companies) have influenced the candy industry, whether through the invention of iconic candies, the establishment of successful businesses, or the development of innovative confectionery products.

Enjoy! (But don’t forget to brush your teeth!)

Emil J. Brach: Emil J. Brach, born in Schoenwald, Germany, founded E.J. Brach & Sons in 1904 in Chicago. The company initially produced caramels and hard candies before expanding its product line to include chocolates, gummies, and other confections. Brach’s became one of the largest candy manufacturers in the United States, known for its wide variety of candies and chocolates. (They even produce over 7 billion pounds of candy corn every year!)

Leo Hirschfeld: Leo Hirschfeld, an Austrian immigrant, was a candy maker who invented Tootsie Rolls in 1896. Originally named after his daughter Clara’s nickname, Tootsie Rolls are chewy chocolate-flavored candies that became one of the most iconic American sweets. (Plus, the company produces Blow-Pops, Dots, and Junior Mints!)

Gustav Goelitz: Gustav Goelitz, along with his brother, founded the Goelitz Confectionery Company in 1869, which later became known as the Jelly Belly Candy Company. Jelly Belly is famous for its gourmet jelly beans, featuring a wide array of flavors and unique combinations. (They also helped make candy corn popular!)

Henry (Heinrich) Heide: Henry Heide, originally from Obermarsberg, Germany, was the founder of Henry Heide, Inc., established in 1869 in New York City. The company produced a variety of candies, including Jujubes and Jujyfruits.

William (Wilhelm) Schraff: Originally from Bavaria, Germany, invented the jelly bean in Boston in 1861. His candies were even sent to Union soldiers in the Civil War.

Otto Schnering: He was a German-American entrepreneur and confectioner and the founder of the Curtiss Candy Company. Born in Germany in 1879, Schnering immigrated to the United States at a young age and began his career in the candy industry. In 1922, he established the Curtiss Candy Company in Chicago, where he introduced a candy bar known as the Baby Ruth. He also developed another popular candy bar, which we know as Butterfinger!

Fun Fact: The Baby Ruth candy bar is named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, not the baseball player (who was also of German descent)!

Milton S. Hershey: Milton S. Hershey, of Swiss and German descent, founded the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1894. Inspired by European chocolate-making techniques, particularly those from Germany, Hershey pioneered the production of milk chocolate in the United States. His most famous creations include Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars and Hershey’s Kisses. He also established the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, providing housing, schools, and recreational facilities for his employees.


Although not German-Americans, these German confectioners produce some well-known – and loved! – candies that are popular in the United States and around the globe.

August Storck: August Storck founded August Storck KG in 1903 in Germany. The company is known for producing a range of candies and chocolates, including Werther’s Original caramels, Merci chocolates, and Toffifee caramel candies with hazelnuts.

Hans Riegel Sr.: Hans Riegel Sr. was the founder of Haribo, a German confectionery company established in 1920. Haribo is famous for inventing gummy bears in 1922, which became popular worldwide. The company produces a wide range of gummy candies in various shapes and flavors.

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