I Love Reese's® Day
annually on May 18th (since 2010)
The Hershey Company in 2010
Today we celebrate the candy that brings chocolate and peanut butter together, the Reese's® Peanut Butter Cup, as well as the man who created it, Harry Burnett Reese. In 2010, Hershey sponsored an online petition to declare May 18 as I Love Reese's® Day, and it was signed by 40,000 fans. May was chosen as the time because the holiday would then be sandwiched between National Peanut Butter Lover's Day in March, and Chocolate Day in July. As part of the first celebration, Reese's gave away 10,000 Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups.
In 1917, H.B. Reese began working on a Hershey dairy farm, and in the early 1920s, he started working at a Hershey candy factory. At that time he began making candy in his basement, in part because he was well on his way to having sixteen children and needed to make some extra income to support them. He used various fresh ingredients and coated them in Hershey's chocolate.
He quit Hershey's and formed the H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1923. He created a wide variety of candies and was successful enough to build a new factory and home in 1926. Reese invented Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups in 1928. Since he sold them for only a penny at the time, they were known as "penny cups." They became the most popular candy he made, and he started selling them in five-pound boxes to retailers for their candy displays.
During World War II, when sugar was being rationed, Reese stopped making everything but peanut butter cups, which used less sugar than the rest of his candies. His company continued to grow more successful, but he passed away in 1956 at the age of 76. He left his company to his six sons, and in 1963 they sold it to Hershey's Chocolate Company for $23.5 million in shares—which are now worth over $1 billion.
There have been many varieties of Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups and related products over the years, such as dark and white chocolate peanut butter cups; miniature, mini, and big cups; and Reese's Pieces. There even is a cereal called Reese's Puffs. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups continue to be one of the top candies sold in the United States and are enjoyed by millions there and around the world.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by eating Reese's® Peanut Butter Cups and other Reese's treats. They don't just need to be eaten plain—you could use them to make something as well. If you want to learn more about Reese and his peanut butter cups, you could read REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups: The Untold Story, which was written by one of H.B. Reese's grandsons.