It is said that food flavors can evoke memories and many of Dewar’s flavors take us back to childhood.
During the lives of every current generation in Bakersfield, Dewar’s has been a part of the community’s fabric. That is exactly what the Dewar brothers intended when their ad in the Dec. 19, 1921, edition of The Californian read, “No matter how large the demand or how great the factory will grow to be, Bakersfield will be the home of Dewar Chocolates, that will forever be a Kern County Product.”
Family owned and operated since 1909, Dewar’s has prided itself on the best quality candies, chocolates and ice cream. This is something that current generations are familiar with, but let’s go back to Dewar’s earliest years.
Not long after the turn of the 20th century, brothers James (known as JH or Harvey) and George Dewar moved to Bakersfield. JH had experience as a baker, but when it came to the art of candymaking, neither brother had any experience. But that was not going to stop them as they immediately jumped into the chocolate-making business like longtime pros and soon built up quite a reputation.
The Dewar brothers opened The Chocolate Shop in 1909 at 1665 Chester Ave. In one of their first ads in the Aug. 26, 1909, Bakersfield Morning Echo, potential customers were informed: “We make the finest chocolates you ever tasted. They are pure and fresh. We are expert candymakers and we know our business.”
By 1913, the Dewar brothers were making their own ice cream and ice milk. Using the latest state-of-the-art machinery, they installed a motorized ice cream churn that had a 200-gallon capacity. An April 22 Californian article further praised the enterprise for the use of milk and cream from their own dairy ranch on Rosedale. Around the same time, they were placed in charge of Kimball-Stone Drug Co.’s soda and candy counter. As the business continued to grow, they moved to a new location on Baker Street.
Although there had been some changes to the business, such as selling The Chocolate Shop, working for the Kern Candy Factory and briefly moving to Ventura, the Dewars never gave up completely on the candy business. In fact, not even World War I or Mrs. George Dewar’s brush with the Spanish flu could keep the Dewar family from continuing to create their delicious treats.
By 1921, Dewar’s famous chews were a city favorite and JH had taken over business operations. In 1927, the candies went international when they were sold during Christmas in London, England. Finally, in 1930, Dewar’s Candy and Ice Cream shop was opened at 1120 Eye St.
Dewar’s has continued to thrive and expand under the loving care of generations of Dewar family members. What started as a small family business turned into one of Bakersfield’s longest family-run enterprises. James and George could only dream and hope that the prediction they made in that 1909 ad would come true when they stated: “Our candy business is growing every day. … Once you try our candies you will always come for more.” ￼