A New and Improved “Candy That Travels”

The classic Almond Roca candy is well-known and well-loved, with its toffee center, chocolate enrobing, and crushed almond pieces. The candy, and Brown & Haley, the company, have roots locally in the city of Tacoma. Now one hundred and eight years old, the company began because of a friendship between Harry L. Brown, who owned a small confectionary store of his own, and J. C. Haley, who had a special flair for marketing and sales. The duo launched Brown & Haley in 1912, and their families have continued the legacy by making the candy company into one of the top selling candy companies in the world.

Almond Roca, the most famous candy creation of Brown & Haley’s, had its first taste of worldwide popularity in the early 1940s when it was shipped in care packages to American troops in Europe. Brown & Haley also created the Mountain bar, named originally for Mount Tacoma itself. The Almond Roca, which stood alone in the Roca brand until 2002 and the creation of the Mocha Roca, is affectionately known as “The Candy That Travels” for its international influence.

Every year, the 80,000 square-foot Brown & Haley plant in Tacoma uses over two million pounds of chocolate. Twelve thousand pounds of those each day are reserved for the Roca candies. Last year, the factory briefly closed in order to reinstall new machinery that allows for Rocas to be wrapped at a rate of over two thousand pieces per minute.

This year, Brown & Haley is working to expand the popularity of the Roca candies even more with the introduction of Roca Bites. Retaining the classic flavors of Almond, Milk Chocolate, and Dark Chocolate, Roca Bites are a third of the size of the original Roca, and half as thick. The Bites are made with the same premium ingredients as the traditional candies, with the addition of 100% sustainably sourced cacao. 

This is an exciting new addition to the classic local candy brand the nation has come to love. Brown & Haley’s is certainly one of the sweetest parts of the city, from its historical roots and the birth of the company over one hundred years ago to its newest products and plans for the future. To visit the store in the heart of Tacoma, or to purchase candies, visit Brown & Haley’s website or store location at 110 E 26th St, Tacoma, WA 98421.


Brown & Haley Gives to the Bees

Fifteen hundred gallons of premier sugar water will find their way from the Brown & Haley property to local beekeepers this November. With the help of City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services, Brown & Haley was able to create and donate the sugar water, produced when contractors cleaned the 40’ tall sugar-storing silos, used to make ALMOND ROCA®, on the candy company’s property.

“This is public/private partnership at its best,” said Pierson Clair, the CEO of Brown & Haley. “We needed to clean our sugar silos, and instead of just sending us a bill for the excess wastewater being created, the City of Tacoma, with help from Tacoma Public Utilities, created a solution that benefits our community.”

This creative solution came from a City of Tacoma (COT) wastewater employee. The sugary byproduct of the silos’ cleaning process was proving to be difficult to dispose of. During a consultation with Environmental Services, an employee recommended saving the water for beekeepers. In the winter months, nectar supplies are low, and Washington beekeepers use sugar water to feed their bees instead. Rather than being thrown away, this premier sugar water will get recycled by local bees into honey.

“It has been a great experience to work with the local industry and develop this synergy,” said Alan Aplin, account executive of the City of Tacoma Business Operations. “For Tacoma to sustainably dispose of a waste stream of this sort and to benefit our local environment is a win-win situation.”

Work has gone into creating a food-safe solution, including using only potable water in the cleaning process and food-safe, clean equipment to transport and store the sugar water. The sugar water was delivered to COT’s central wastewater treatment plant in Tacoma, where beekeepers will be able to pick up the free sugar water upon request.

“We have a saying around here, ‘make it Tacoma,’ and this is why,” said Jackie Flowers, director of Tacoma Public Utilities. “One of our jobs as a public utility is to find creative solutions to ordinary problems in our community. By working together with the city and local businesses, we’re thinking outside the traditional box of our services, saving the community money and resources every time we do. Plus, I happen to be a huge Almond Roca fan.”

This an exciting and creative endeavor between Brown & Haley and the City of Tacoma (COT). If it works, Brown & Haley may continue this process every time they need to clean their sugar stores, helping not only their equipment but also Washington’s own local beekeepers. 

In mid-November, Environmental Services will be ready to dispense the sugar water to local beekeepers and hummingbird enthusiasts. Please call TAGRO at (253) 502-2150 if you are interested in receiving updated information about the sugar water’s availability.