Candy manufacturer grows production in La Porte County

LAPORTE — American Licorice Company, a candy and licorice manufacturer, announced plans last week to expand its operations, creating up to 35 new jobs by 2015.
The Bend, Ore.-headquartered company will invest approximately $10 million to equip and renovate its 285,000 square-foot facility at 1900 Whirlpool Drive. The expansion, which will include the installation of a licorice production line and the addition of a rail spur to allow the company to receive ingredients by rail, is expected to be operational by 2015.
"It is a great day any time we can celebrate the growth of a company with a long history of sustained success and community involvement," said Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "Creating a favorable business climate that allows companies like American Licorice to continue to expand is essential in making Indiana a state that works for business."
American Licorice, which currently employs 150 Hoosiers in La Porte and 500 associates nationwide, plans to begin hiring additional production associates next year.
"American Licorice has been making candy for the past 99 years and we look to sustain that momentum for many more," said John Kretchmer, chief executive officer of American Licorice. "Indiana's centralized location within the United States and its business friendly climate at the state and local levels were both contributing factors in our decision to grow at our La Porte facility."
Founded in 1914, American Licorice is one of the original licorice manufacturers in the United States and produces Red Vines®, Sour Punch®, Natural Vines®, Super Ropes® and Snaps® candy brands. The company, which also has a production facility in Union City, Calif., was named the 2012 Corporate Citizen of the Year by the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce for its community involvement.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered American Licorice Company up to $200,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of La Porte approved additional tax abatement at the request of the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation.
"American Licorice has been a great community partner for many years and I am thrilled to see them enjoy success here in La Porte," said La Porte Mayor Blair Milo. "We look forward to continuing to partner with them in the days ahead as they continue to thrive and prosper."
Indiana has a long history in agriculture production. In addition to American Licorice, Café Valley, Sugar Creek Packing, Farbest Foods and Inventure Foods are just a few of the food production companies that have recently made plans to locate or grow in the Hoosier State. In 2012, companies in the industry committed to create more than 2,000 new jobs and invest more than $462 million in their Indiana operations.