Ever wonder what's behind the success of America's Favorite Nuts? It's a story that begins with a lot of the attention to freshness, quality and detail that started way back in 1937. That's when Arlo Shirk and his father Edward G. Shirk purchased a small confectionery store in downtown Bloomington, Illinois and with it, the recipe for a special glazed peanut.
Called the Caramel Crisp Shop, the business sold glazed nuts, popcorn, peanut brittle, caramel apples, and orange drink. The ancestors of today's BEER NUTS Peanuts were known as "Redskins" because they were prepared with their red skins intact.
They were processed by hand in the back room of the store and sold over-the-counter by the scoop. "Redskins" were occasionally offered at no charge to entice patrons to buy the homemade orange drink. In 1940, at age 22, Edward Shirk's son, Russell, returned to Bloomington following his brothers untimely death, to help manage the Caramel Crisp Shop. A stickler for quality, Russell personally monitored how every item in the store was prepared and served. Each item had to be fresh, of the finest ingredients, and prepared and served with pride. The popular redskin peanut was destined to one day become a national favorite.
In the early 1950's, the Shirks occasionally packaged "Redskins" for the National Liquor Stores in Bloomington. The product sold well under the label "Shirk's Glazed Peanuts." It was this small start and the persistence of Eldridge C. Brewster, a local potato chip and food distributor and a customer and supplier of the Caramel Crisp Shop, that got things going. Shirk and Brewster teamed up as manufacturer and distributor to see how the product would sell, the first target being taverns and bars in the nearby community and surrounding areas. It was then that the product was officially dubbed "BEER NUTS" Peanuts and the now well known trademark was registered.
While Shirk produced the product in the basement at a new Caramel Crisp Shop location during off hours, Brewster began achieving market penetration through his potato chip distribution in Central Illinois. In a matter of months the product was available in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.
Today, BEER NUTS, Inc. continues to use the same unique formula for its special niche of products as they did back in 1937. All BEER NUTS products are produced at a single 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Illinois, under the direction of James A. Shirk and his family, the next generation of Shirks. With the same family commitment to freshness and quality 60 years later, the family takes pride in the fact that the BEER NUTS trademark brings smiles and instant recognition in all 50 states and several countries around the world.We welcome you to our nutty BEER NUTS family.
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