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This New York Duo Has Been Making Candy Cane the Same Way Since 1896

Picture of Julia Goicochea
Updated: 14 December 2017

A cornerstone of the average American’s Christmastime diet, the classic red-and-white candy cane burst onto the seasonal scene around the turn of the century. To the delight of dedicated consumers across the country, one of the United States’ original candy cane manufacturers, Lucas Candies, hasn’t looked back since.

Established in 1896, Lucas Candies is among the oldest candy cane manufacturers in the United States, with a nationwide fan base and plenty of media praise to show for it. At the company’s core, however, Lucas Candies is a family affair: for more than 120 years and three generations, the business has been led by the family of the current owner, Nick Loucas. The fourth-generation Lucas Candies owner and his partner Deb Bertrand continue to uphold the company’s century-old traditions today, including its surprisingly intensive candy-making process.

When considering candy, “labor-intensive” and “dangerous” aren’t words that typically come to mind, yet that’s just how Bertrand describes the cooking process. As the company partners of Lucas Candies tell CBS New York, they cook a corn syrup, water, and sugar mixture until it reaches 320°F, hence the presence of danger, and then form and paint the candy canes by hand. Producing warm peppermint treats far superior to the artificial finds in many stores, this old-fashioned, small-batch approach pays off in a major—and mouthwatering—way.

We aren’t the only ones who think so. In the Rockland County town of Haverstraw, New York, where Lucas Candies has been operating since 1896, the store is a pillar of the local community. When the company celebrated its 120th anniversary with candy cane-making demonstrations last year, lucky locals had the treat of witnessing Lucas Candies prove that products created with care will always be as timeless as they are tasty.