Photo: Hammond’s Candies
How could poor Carl Hammond’s frustrated mother know back in 1915 that her maverick son, who left high school after his first day, would one day be known as America’s biggest candy cane producer?
How could she foresee that after an apprenticeship in a candy factory, young Carl would go on to found Hammond’s Candy Company in Denver, a company that would still be going strong 95 years later, featuring candy cane in flavors pumpkin, blood orange, and pomegranate? Or that the signature marshmallow and caramel candy developed by Carl’s friend Mitchell in the 1930s would evolve into gourmet chocolate bars in 2013 with names like “Whoopie Pie” and “Pigs N’ Taters”?
The Candy Man Can!
Hammond’s remained a family run, local treasure, passing through the protective hands of children and their spouses until selling in 1999. But in the early days, Carl was a one-man dynamo creating the recipes, making and selling the candy, and balancing the books.Much like alcohol sales that increase in hard economic times, Hammond’s candy sales thrived in the 1920s. The company even remained profitable during the Great Depression. Carl insisted that the quality of his product remain high and customers continued to patronize Hammond’s, seeking a brief moment of pleasure in the sweet escape.
Williams-Sonoma began to stock Hammond’s specialty products in their stores in 1995, and the secret was out. The small factory with 10 employees was clearly insufficient to handle the demand and many years of continuous expansion followed. In 2007, current President and CEO Andrew Schuman purchased the company and “full speed ahead” remained the motto.
Gourmet Chocolate Lineup
Under the enthusiastic guidance of Schuman, Hammond’s new line of gourmet chocolate bars hit the scene. The National Confectioners Association named “Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich” Most Innovative New Product of the Year in 2012 and “Red Velvet Cake” took the honors in 2013. Hammond’s new kid on the candy block, “Whoopie Pie”, was nominated in the 2014 Gourmet/Premium category for its thick dark chocolate shell stuffed with sweet cream filling goodness.
Other notables in the Gourmet line include “Cookie Dough”, “Peanut Butter Cup”, “Double Chocolate Truffle”, and Oprah’s favorite, “Pigs N’ Taters”, a mix of chocolate, potato chips, and crispy kosher bacon bits. (Yes, there really is a Bacon Day. It’s December 30.)
Truly Something for Every Body
Hammond’s boasts an amazing array of candies for every occasion, and then some. The vast inventory reflects the depth and diversity of a continually expanding company that is 90-plus years old. I think of my grandparents, who were teens in the Depression years, when I see the tins of Horehound Drops and the Christmas Classic Mix.
Hammond’s creates specialty candies for Baby Showers, Hanukkah Candy, Patriotic Candy, and even a way to shop for your candy by color. In 2012 Hammond’s debuted the Bee Pollen Chocolate Bar™, a combination of bee pollen and organic dark chocolate, donating 5 percent of profits to worldwide bee sustainability efforts.
Party at Hammond’s!
It’s hard to think of a more coveted children’s birthday celebration location than the Party Room at Hammond’s. Packages include a private, interactive factory tour, a personalized candy-making experience, pizza, and parting gift bags.The Hammond’s Candies sole factory in Denver offers free, 30-minute tours every half hour. Guests observe the production and packaging of the many handcrafted specialties, witnessing the same hand pulling and shaping procedures that were used in 1920.
If the holiday season left you heavy with sugar cravings but light in the wallet, Hammond’s can help with their Oops Candy, grab bags full of end pieces and broken bits at steeply, sweetly, discounted prices!