Milk Duds are a sweet hit!
When chocolate got a hold of these caramel nuggets, and completely wrapped itself around the caramel, it was a perfect union. A match made in candy heaven! Milk Duds are an old fashioned candy that have been around since 1926. Nothing can ever be a dud that involves chocolate and caramel! But when they first attempted to make these sweet morsels they just could not succeed in making them into perfectly round balls. Try as they might to accomplish this, the candy was just not cooperating. Each time one came out of the machine, all of the factory workers would exclaim to their boss that they were all coming out as" duds". I suppose eventually they had to accept the fate of this delightful candy. They must have known that the taste would overcome any name they were given. They would never be perfectly round balls, but duds. They may have been considered duds at the time, but have only proven over time that they are anything but.
Milton J. Holloway was a sweet genius
Mild Duds owe their success to one, Milton J. Holloway. He was of the 1920's era and among many men who were just starting out in the candy business at the time. According to Holloway's son, he describes his father as being an eager entrepreneur. Short in stature and a feisty man, who was also very gutsy. He would have needed these traits, and then some, to become a successful "candy man". His son also says that many people doubted his father's ideas believing that his candy adventure would never be a successful venture. Well, he showed them! After all, Holloway proved to be no "dud", he just made them.
Created in the 1920's Chicago Candy District
Holloway set up shop in Chicago near the Northern part of the Chicago River. He was in good company with other eager and hungry entrepreneurs, who could all envision a sweet success in the candy business. Some of these men included, Emil J. Brach, the founder of Brach's Confection. Frank C. Mars, of course famous for Mars Incorporated. Also Otto Schnering the man behind the Curtiss Candy Company.
Mr. Holloway secured himself a four story building, where his faithful employees would work tirelessly around the clock. Even through the great depression, Milton Holloway and his employees worked hard and diligently on making their delicious candy a huge success. Besides the Milk Duds, they also produced some other great old fashioned candies, such as Slo Poke Caramel Sucker and Black Cow Chocolate Caramel Candy. Who could forget these!
4 hours to make your Milk Duds!
Making our beloved Milk Duds is a sweet journey. Starting out on the fourth floor of the factory, they are mixed in enormous batches of some 30,000 pounds! This mixture then travels to the third floor where it must be left to settle for an hour. This fills the contents of six very large kettles. Once cooked the Milk Duds get a bath with cool water that flows over them. Then the Milk Duds get a blast of cold air and in less than 60 seconds they are almost cooled to the right temperature. They proceed to the presses and come out with their famous Milk Dud , dud shaped! The whole process of making a delicious batch of Milk Duds takes about four hours. That's pretty fast when you consider the huge amount they make in a day!
Hershey's buys Milk Duds
As we all know, times change, and most of the other candy companies that were once clumped in with Mr. Holloway's moved away to the East Coast, or the West side. Milton Holloway remained in the sweet candy business until the 1960's. It had become clear to him that his son was not interested in taking over the candy business so he eventually sold his company for 1.25 million dollars to the Beatrice Food Company. In 1996 it was acquired by the Hershey's.
Imagine, even with all those big changes over the years, Milk Duds have survived the test of time. This just speaks volumes about the old fashioned candy goodness found in every dud!
This Old Fashioned Candy Tradition Continues
What Milton J. Holloway created still remains, and his old office now belongs to a new Milk Dud plant manager, Shah-Khan. The operation continues to this day, and it is the only place in the whole world where this old fashioned candy is made!
Shah-Khan says that every week the factory goes through 100 tons of corn syrup, 50 tons of powdered sugar, 38 tons of condensed milk, and 44 tons of a sweet chocolately coating. These ingredients, along with the hard work and dedication of the employees produce 32.5 million individual Milk Duds, and fill over 2 million of their iconic yellow and brown boxes. Every two hours and thirty seven minutes another million Milk Duds are created, freshly coming off the conveyor belt and put into their iconic packages. That's a lot of Milk Duds! I bet it smells absolutely divine in that place.
We love Milk Duds at the movies!
Milk Duds are as popular today as they ever were. Our retro Milk Duds candies were ranked 40th out of 325 other candies, which fairs extremely well. Old fashioned Milk Duds are at the top of the list at movie theaters, being one of the top three confections that are sold there.
Here's another interesting fact about movie theaters and the birth place of Milk Duds. Chicago was the very first city in all of America to offer popcorn to guests while attending the cinema. It didn't take long for major candy companies to get in on the act. We're glad they did because we all need a sweet candy chaser after all that buttery popcorn. Plus Milk Duds are perfect for sharing with your movie date!
Milk Duds are a genuine candy
Milk Duds are an example of a pure and simple old fashioned candy. The packaging is not glamorous, no fancy slogans and there isn't a celebrity endorsement. Milk Duds do not try and be something they are not. They are genuine. In fact, this is perhaps why they are so popular and well loved. They always get right to the point, the caramel and chocolate! The caramel has the exact consistency that a caramel should have. Not too hard, and not too soft, but in the ideal caramel zone.
Milk Duds are one of the most delicious old fashioned candies on the market. They are simple, but oh so effective and could lure you back to a simpler time and place.
92 years and still going strong
Milton Holloway certainly got it right with his Milk Duds. Even when he was doubted by many he kept on pushing through to his greatness and all of us candy lovers get to reap the sweet rewards! Well done Milk Duds, you have really stood the test of candy loving time. Milk Duds have been around for 92 years and are still going strong.
Milk Duds are sweet. You are what you eat!
The trick to never becoming a candy dud is to make sure you eat plenty of Milk Duds. If they are not included into your candy repertoire as of late, you are missing out and might have to review your candy selection. Do not let yourself ever become a candy dud, be sure to keep these exciting delicious candies in your stash!