At Gerrit J Verburg Company, we care about gums and candies…and not only for all the obviously delicious reasons. Each sweet tells a story—who made it? where was it made? when was it made? who enjoyed it? where are they now? At some point, when a candy or chewing gum has been around for a long enough time, these stories become so historical and so diverse that they become treasures in and of themselves, worthy of respect and preservation.
This is why we chose to take on the exciting and important task of re-launching and reinvigorating three of America’s original chewing gums: Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove. Not only is each of these gums uniquely delicious in its own right, but they also each embody over 130 years of American history and pop culture.
How does one go about being a responsible steward to three iconic chewing gum brands? Take a glance at our 3-step process to preserving these tasty pieces of chewing gum history.
You might say we were made for this moment. As passionate fans and professionals of the chewing gum and candy industries, we were always waiting for an opportunity to become more involved with the stars of its history. Fortunately, we stumbled upon that exact opportunity in 2019 when Mondelez International, the parent company of Cadbury, was looking to sell its rights to Black Jack, Beemans, and Clove chewing gums—three of the most historic chewing gum brands of all time.
It seemed almost too good to be true, so we took up the mantle with gusto and began to strategize how best to preserve the history of each brand, while also relaunching the chewing gum to store shelves in hopes of rebuilding a fanbase for both today and tomorrow.
When you have been sold in stores for over 100 years, you undoubtedly have a very distinct identity and personality in the eyes of American gum chewers. As stewards of each vintage gum, we wanted to make sure we brought them back to American shoppers with the original and authentic voices they established in the early 1900s. So, we did our research, acquainting ourselves with each gum’s individual story and looking through old photographs and advertisements from their first turns in the spotlight.
Curious what we found? The Vintage Gums Gazette is a continuously updated hub for all the personal and historical stories we discover during this journey. You can uncover the history behind Black Jack becoming America’s first flavored chewing gum, or see what the country was like for people chewing gum in the 1950s.
Once these iconic brands were ready to be relaunched, we had to find the right stores to showcase them and sell them to consumers—not just any store would do. These stores had to not only respect the history and significance of these vintage gums, but they also had to be capable of delivering America’s first flavored gums to a large portion of the country. When these gums were first released, they were some of the most widely available chewing gums in the country, so it is only fitting that they remain accessible to everyone.
We have already made huge strides in partnering with the right stores, and we have even bigger plans on the horizon. If you’re interested in seeing which fine retailers across the country are now selling America’s vintage gums, you can search for them at our store locator. What’s more, we have put together a series of collectible vintage gum tins, which can be found at the same locations for a limited time.