Fascinating History of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

What is Reese’s History? What are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? How did Hershey’s inspire Reese’s?   
Fascinating History of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Owned by Hershey’s, Reese’s was not actually its invention. H.B. Reese is the man responsible for creating one of America’s most delicious and celebrated treats, i.e., Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. In this article, we will look at Reese’s history, the history of Reese’s peanut butter cups, and how they came to being.

1. Introduction to Reese 

Harry Burnett Reese, born May 24, 1879, belonged to a farming family in Pennsylvania. After getting married in 1900 and having 16 children, Reese began struggling to support his family. Switching between all kinds of jobs, he finally became an employee at The Hershey Company in the early 1920s. Not long after, he got inspired and began making his own candy in the basement of his home. After experimenting for a while with his candy creations, Reese created his first peanut butter cups in 1928, making them his bestselling item. Read below to find out the detailed history of Reese’s peanut butter cups. (See How Are Jelly Beans Made?)

2. History of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups  

From the failure of his own company to making candies under Hershey’s, here’s a complete breakthrough of the history of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: 

  • In 1917, Reese was a dairy manager at Hershey’s and managed milking machines at the Round Barn dairy farm.
  • In 1919, the farm was shut down due to its maintenance costs. Desperate for work, Reese started his own candy company named R&R.
  • In 1920, his startup business collapsed. In 1921, Reese began working for Hershey’s again. It is during this time that he began making candies in the basement of his home. He created an assortment of candies like hard candies, chocolate-coated almonds and raisins, Lizzie bar, and Johnny bar. The chocolate he used as the coating was Hershey’s. 
  • In 1923, he incorporated his own company once again, this time making it a hit. The Hershey Company supplied him with Hershey’s chocolate coating and kept a close relationship with him throughout his career.
  • In 1928, Reese invented the Peanut Butter Cup and added it to his product line soon after.
  • In 1956, after Reese’s death, his sons took over the H.B. Reese Candy Company
  • In 1963, Reese’s company was sold to The Hershey Company by his sons. (Read Why Do Asians Use Chopsticks?)

Fascinating History of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

3. Invention of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were invented 93 years ago by H.B. Reese on November 15, 1928. It all started with Reese’s undefeated interest in candy-making. His basement-born endeavor became a local success, inspiring him to keep on creating all sorts of chocolates and candies. Later, he incorporated the H.B. Reese Candy Company to manufacture candies and chocolates on a larger scale. His love for creating sweet delicacies gave birth to delicious chocolate and peanut butter confections in 1928. These confectionery items were named Penny Cups as, at that time, they were sold for only a penny. (See Are Pennies Lucky?)

Between the 1930s and 1940s, penny cups gained massive popularity in the U.S. and motivated Reese to continue focusing on his peanut butter cups venture. Reese’s peanut butter cups became his best-selling product and paid off all of his hard work. With the rise in demand for Reese’s peanut butter cups, his business spread as quickly as wildfire. (Also read Why Ice floats on Water?)

4. Rise of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 

Hershey’s, the chocolate company that had inspired Reese, bought his company from six of his sons for $23.5 million in the year 1963. Hershey’s picked up and continued the legacy of Reese’s peanut butter cups, making them prosper ever since. Though, Hershey’s launched an array of variations alongside the original Reese’s cups. The flavors include dark chocolate, marshmallow, hazelnut cream, and caramel. Hershey’s also offers these confections in different sizes; big cups, miniatures, and minis. Under Hershey’s ownership, the peanut butter cups have gained a worldwide liking. (See How Many is a Baker’s Dozen?)

Now we know the history of Reese’s peanut butter cups! From Reese’s basement to candy stores all across the world, Reese’s buttercups have surely thrived over the years.

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