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American Licorice Company

In 1914, the American Licorice Company's factory began in a small rented space on West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, founded by Martin Kretchmer, son Frank Kretchmer and son-in-law Peter Shock. Martin started his career selling wares on the streets of Chicago out of a small cart, but fast forward to one hundred year later and the company remain a proud family-owned company, with their great grandchildren running the company and the first generation joining the ranks.


1925 - Began operations on the west coast with Clarence Kretchmer, Martin Kretchmer's son, at the helm

1930s - American Licorice Co. introduced Snaps®, a chewy black licorice center panned with a sweet pastel-colored candy coating.

1950s - American Licorice Co. expanded beyond traditional black licorice and began producing Raspberry Vines.

1963 - American Licorice produced unwrapped Red Ropes and Licorice Ropes, the longest pieces of licorice to hit the market.

1969 - A project to move San Francisco operations to Union City broke ground. Union City candy production began in 1970. Four years later, the Chicago plant was relocated to a 40,000-square-foot space in nearby Alsip, Illinois. That decade Purple Vines (grape flavored), Green Vines (peppermint flavored), and Chocolate Vines were created.

1983 - American Licorice Co. began offering Red Vines® candy in a knob-top jar, which became an iconic form of packaging for the company.

1990 - American Licorice Co. expanded into the sour candy market with the Sour Punch® brand candies, sour-flavored candy in a thin straw format.

Mid-1990s - American Licorice Co. created several varieties of candy that used organic ingredients and had no preservatives. Riza, a natural licorice brand, was launched in 1999.

2005 - American Licorice Co. expanded operations to a larger facility in La Porte, Indiana to meet demand. This location is now the hub responsible for creating all your favorite Sour Punch® brand candies.


In 2011, American Licorice Co. began its corporate charitable giving program. Its primary charitable cause has been providing school bags and school supplies through the Kids In Need Foundation to schools located around its Union City and La Porte locations. American Licorice Co. supports many other organizations, and is always on the lookout for great community organizations to support.

Also in 2010, ALC began to focus its efforts on reducing its environmental impact. ALC set out to reduce its carbon emissions by 10%, which it achieved in 2014, and achieve Zero Waste Certification in both locations. In 2013, Union City achieved Gold status through the Zero Waste Council, and in 2016, La Porte followed suit.


In September of 2014, American Licorice Co. surpassed the 100 years in business mark. In that time, we have had the pleasure of creating some of the best candies, watched our fans beam with happiness as they celebrated their lives with our treats, and worked (and continue to work) with the best family of associates a team could ask for. When Martin Kretchmer started this small licorice company in Chicago, he undoubtedly did not know that he was creating a company that would reach and impact the lives of so many people. We hope that we are making him proud every day.


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