Hans Riegel, chief executive of the German confectionary company Haribo, died of heart failure today at the age of 90 in Bonn, according to a statement from the company. Riegel, along with his brother Paul, built the small candy company founded by their father—also named Hans—in 1920 into a global sweets powerhouse after World War II. (Fun fact: Haribo was chosen as a name by crunching together the first sounds in the words HAns RIegel and BOnn) Here’s a brief timeline on the history of the company’s iconic gummi bears.
1920 — Haribo is founded by Hans Riegel in Bonn. According to legend the original company’s capital included a sack of sugar, a marble slab, a stove and a kettle.
1922 — Riegel invents a bear-shaped fruit flavored gelatin, which he calls Tanzbär, or “dancing bear.”
1925 — Haribo unveils a licorice-flavored Schwarzbär, or black bear.
1945 — Both Hans and Paul Riegel are held in American-run prisoner-of-war camps.
1946 — Hans Riegel junior takes over as CEO company after his father’s death.
1960 — Haribo begins manufacturing its golden Gummibärchen or “little rubber bear,” which we now know as gummi bears.
1967 — Haribo begins making multicolored gummi bears.
1975 — Haribo trademarks the term “Gold Bears,” globally. The term will be at the heart of a recent legal fight with Lindt.
1981 — First American-made gummi bear is produced by the Herman Goelitz Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company).
1981 — Chicago based candy concern Trolli launches its gummi worms.
1982 — Haribo opens its first US office.
1985 — A Disney produced cartoon series “Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears” premieres.
2001 — Haribo launches gelatin-free gummis that can qualify for kosher or halal status.
2009 — Paul Riegel dies.
2013 — Hans Riegel dies, leaving two nephews to run Haribo.