Red Vines are classic candies that have been craved by generations; Sour Punch Straws are a favorite for today’s teens. Both are signature sweets of the family-owned American Licorice Company (ALC) in La Porte, Indiana!
Founded in 1914 by Martin Kretchmer and family, ALC has operated for well over a century, driven by flavor innovation and community involvement. With the original factory hailing from Chicago, ALC got its start in the production of black licorice. During the Depression era, licorice factories were commonplace. Nevertheless, ALC would prove to stand the test of time.
Upon purchasing a San Francisco-based licorice company in 1925, ALC achieved a bit of stardom by creating a licorice shoe for Charlie Chaplin’s film The Gold Rush. This kick-started a period of innovation with the new black licorice treats SnapsⓇ and Lic-Ris-Ets.
It wasn't until the 1950s that the company strayed from black licorice to experiment with a new red candy called Raspberry Twists. These fruity sweets became known as red licorice, and the popular treat was eventually renamed Red VinesⓇ, the candy we love today. After relocations to Union City, California and Alsip, Illinois, the company expanded its palate to include even more flavors, giving rise to Purple, Green, and Chocolate Vines as well as the Natural Licorice Bar.
The demand for the candy grew so much that the company launched its 4-pound knob top jar packaging in 1983. This became central to the ALC image until Sour PunchⓇ Straws burst onto the scene in 1990 followed by a push to include organic ingredients in some of the recipes.
In 2005 the company established a factory in La Porte, Indiana, where it continues to manufacture Sour PunchⓇ candies and is the main point of contact for Midwest operations. This location has helped launch ALC into the 21st century, with the implementation of new recipes concerned with reducing artificial ingredients and increasing the use of non-GMO ingredients.
Now, ALC is focusing many of its efforts back to the communities it serves. Its largest initiative is the Kids in Need Foundation which aims to offer school supplies to kids in the La Porte and Union City areas. Furthermore, the company has seen much success in becoming more environmentally friendly, focusing on carbon emission reduction and partnering with The Conservation Fund and its local energy providers to offset its Scope 1 & 2 emissions and purchase 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
For the last century ALC has been driven by a strong legacy and is always striving to be a pioneer in its field. Having recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, the family-owned and operated company is dedicated to continue serving its people, communities, and environment for generations to come.
To learn more about ALC, its candy, and community initiatives, please visit their website.
1900 Whirlpool Dr. La Porte, IN 46350
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