Is there anything better than the magical mix of chocolate and peanut butter? It doesn’t matter if you’re craving something sweet or something salty, Reese’s has you covered. If Reese’s are your go-to candy, you’re definitely not alone. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is the third most popular candy in the U.S., and of all those surveyed, an overwhelming 81 percent liked them. The data is interesting: for the most part, people can agree that Reese’s are delicious, regardless of what generation they belong to. Now you know — when someone wonders what millennials and boomers have in common, the answer is, “A love of Reese’s.” There’s something incredibly wholesome about that, isn’t there? It’s more than a sweet fix; it’s the candy that brings the generations together. Now, in the spirit of togetherness, let’s talk about some fun facts that even the biggest Reese’s fans might not know.
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups weren’t invented in the ’70s – they’re from the late 1920s. According to the Hershey Archives, their creator, Harry Burnett Reese, worked as a farmer, a fish hatchery manager, and a factory worker to support his family before landing a job as a dairy farmer Milton Hershey. Impressed by Hershey’s chocolate company, Reese began making candies at home after selling around town. For years, however, the business struggles. After failing to find success selling hard candies, he began experimenting with coating various fillings in Hershey’s chocolate. “Absolutely every center of that candy was delicious,” remembered his oldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth Reese Pearson. Five years into the Reese’s Company, Reese began making peanut butter-filled chocolate cups in response to a commercial customer who’d noted that chocolate peanut butter candy was flying off the shelves faster than he could restock (via Snack History). What made Reese’s peanut butter cups incredibly tasty was the distinct way his malfunctioning roasting equipment roasted the peanuts, which accidentally made it taste better than the other peanut butter options around.
In 1942, because of both the candy’s success and WWII’s financial strains, Reese discontinued the other chocolates and focused solely on the peanut butter cup. After Reese died in 1956, his six sons took over the company. In 1963, they sold it to Hershey’s for $23.5 million, which is about $200 million in 2020 dollars. By 1969, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were Hershey’s bestselling product, selling more than 300 million cups per year. Today, you can head into any drug store or supermarket anywhere in the U.S. and see tons of Reese’s products. There are Reese’s Pieces, candy bars, seasonal shapes (like the Halloween ghosts and pumpkins), different kinds of chocolate, various sizes, new fillings, and so many more. We can bet H.B. Reese would be proud.