With news of the company's warehouse relocating, a look back at of one of the candy's biggest fans
Residents of Pleasant Prairie, Wisc., were sounding a dirge Wednesday for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. warehouse, which company officials announced will be sold as operations relocate to Tennessee. By now the news of changes to the company have probably reached the candy’s number one fan somewhere in the great beyond.
Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans like pre-vegan Bill Clinton loved jalapeño cheeseburgers and FDR loved acronyms. And the 4oth president’s fondness for the bite-sized sugar capsules rubbed off on the American public. As TIME reported in 1981: “Now, with Ronald Reagan in the White House, they seem fated to achieve the luster that the praline of sugar and nuts enjoyed in the court of France’s Louis XIV.”
Reagan was not down with any old generic brand beans, however. As TIME explained:
The type most esteemed by the President is brand-named Jelly Belly, which—addicts vow—is to the ordinary jelly bean what foie gras is to liverwurst. About one-fourth the size of the Easter-basket staple and three times as expensive (up to $4 per lb.), Bellys come in an array of 36 flavors. Their manufacturer, Herman Goelitz Co. of Oakland, maintains that the flavors are so delicate that the beans should be eaten one at a time, not by the vulgar handful. How else to appreciate the richness of the coffee mocha, the tang of the piña colada, the bouquet of the strawberry daiquiri?
Goelitz began supplying Reagan when he was governor of California, during which time he and his visitors plowed through two dozen 1-lb bags monthly, amounting to approximately 10,200 beans. As president, Reagan placed a standing order of 720 bags per month (306,070 beans), to be distributed among the White House, Capitol Hill and other federal buildings.
It’s probably time for the Jelly Belly Candy Co. to start lobbying presidential hopefuls to get their product back in the Oval Office.
Read the full article, here in the TIME Vault: Living: Hill of Beans