Freeze N Dried

How did Jolly Ranchers start?

Table of Contents

The Jolly Rancher, a popular name in the world of candy, has a rich history dating back to the mid-20th century. Best known for its sweet and sour hard candies, the brand has expanded to include a variety of flavors and product variations. This article will take you on a journey through the history of Jolly Rancher, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a beloved candy brand.

The Founding of Jolly Rancher Company

Bill and Dorothy Harmsen founded the Jolly Rancher Company in 1949. They opened their first Jolly Rancher Ice Cream Store in Golden, Colorado. They chose the name to give the impression of a friendly Western company. Initially, they found it challenging to sell ice cream during the colder months, prompting them to add a line of bulk and boxed chocolate to their offerings.

Expansion and Trademark

The company's decision to add a five-cent hot cinnamon taffy stick to their line of products turned out to be a significant move. The popularity of this candy led to the expansion of the Jolly Rancher hard candy line. The company filed for a trademark for "Jolly Rancher" as a word mark in 1958, receiving the registration in 1960.

Ownership Changes

In 1966, the Jolly Rancher Company was sold to Beatrice Foods, although Bill Harmsen continued to operate the business. The company saw a change of hands in 1983 when Leaf, Inc. acquired it, only to be purchased by The Hershey Company in 1996.

Manufacturing Shifts

The turn of the millennium saw significant changes in Jolly Rancher's manufacturing. In 2002, Hershey moved the manufacturing of the candy to Mexico to save costs. Then, in 2014, Hershey acquired The Allan Candy Co. and shifted the production exclusively to the Granby plant, in Quebec, Canada.

The Evolution of Jolly Rancher Flavors

The Jolly Rancher has evolved significantly in terms of flavors since its inception.

Original Flavors

The original flavors of Jolly Rancher were watermelon, apple, and fire stix.

Introduction of New Flavors

As the brand grew, new flavors such as cherry, orange tangerine, lemon, grape, peach, and sour apple were introduced. Later, blue raspberry replaced lemon.

Discontinued and Reintroduced Flavors

Over the years, some flavors have been discontinued, and others reintroduced. For example, in 2020, the peach flavor was brought back in an "all-peach" bag, and replaced the mountain berry flavor in the Fruity Bash bag.

Varieties of Jolly Rancher

In addition to the traditional hard candy, Jolly Rancher has introduced other varieties.

Jolly Rancher Hard Candy

The Jolly Rancher Hard Candy is defined by fruity flavors made of amorphous solids and formed from highly concentrated sugar solutions, giving them a crystallized, glassy appearance.

Jolly Rancher Fruit 'N' Sour

The Jolly Rancher Fruit 'N' Sour is a variation of the hard candy that combines both fruit flavors and sour taste, including Wild Strawberry, Green Apple, Watermelon, Cherry, and Blue Raspberry.

Nutrition Facts

Caloric Content

In terms of nutrition, each piece of Jolly Rancher Hard Candy contains 23 calories.


From a small ice cream store in Colorado to a globally recognized candy brand, Jolly Rancher has come a long way. The evolution of its flavors and product variations reflects the brand's responsiveness to changing consumer preferences and market trends. With its sweet and sour taste and variety of flavors, Jolly Rancher continues to be a favorite among candy lovers worldwide.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *