US craft chocolate pioneer Scharffen Berger announces return to private ownership

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Scharffen Berger
Pic: Scharffen Berger

Related tags Hershey craft chocolate

The brand, under new ownership following the acquisition from The Hershey Company after 16 years for an undisclosed sum, made its official debut at the recent NCA Sweets & Snacks Expo in Indianapolis and has moved to a new manufacturing craft facility in Ashland, Oregon.

We are excited to take Scharffen Berger back to its private ownership roots. Embracing a founder mentality once again, we can infuse energy, passion and a deep love and respect for the brand back into everything we do​,” said Paul Cherrie, Chief Executive Officer for the brand.

Scharffen Berger has a rich history and an amazing quality heritage. We are honoured to be able to carry forward founder John Scharffenberger’s vision of making chocolate with the soul of a fine wine​.”

Cherrie brings not only entrepreneurial and leadership expertise but also deep confectionery experience to his role, having held global management positions previously at both Concord Confections (Dubble Bubble) and The Topps Company.

Joining Cherrie is a team of industry experts "who will ensure the brand’s success from the outset​.

It was paramount to bring a deeply experienced team on board to make sure we could live up to the Scharffen Berger name and reputation from our very first chocolate run. The level of expertise and pure passion for the brand that this team delivers is humbling,​” said Cherrie.

Joining Cherrie at the helm of Scharffen Berger are:

• Ray Major, Master Chocolate Maker — a recognised leader in cocoa sourcing and production, and a member of the ConfectioneryNews’ editorial board. Major has been in the confections industry for more than 45 years. He brings his extensive cacao sourcing, cocoa production, processing and chocolate making expertise to his role at Scharffen Berger, building upon the work he did with the brand while at The Hershey Company.

• Wade Latz, Engineer — Latz, an MBA and electrical engineer, spent 35 years at The Hershey Company, where he led Global Engineering for 10 years and was responsible for the entire US Supply Chain including Engineering, Manufacturing and all production planning and scheduling.

• Peter Lord, Engineer — Lord, a chemical engineer, spent 40 years at The Hershey Company where he designed some of the largest and most advanced chocolate making systems in the world, producing as much as a million pounds of chocolate a day.

• Chris Spirko, Chief Financial Officer – an experienced finance executive from M&M Mars.

• John Scharffenberger, Advisor — Founder Scharffenberger is working closely with Cherrie and the new leadership team to ensure the quality and nuance of the brand’s original formulation are upheld, delivering complex, cacao-forward fine chocolate for baking, pairing and eating.

About Scharffen Berger

Founded in 1996 by winemaker John Scharffenberger and fine food enthusiast Robert Steinberg, Scharffen Berger led the American bean-to-bar craft chocolate movement. Combining practices of chocolate and winemaking, while recognising the importance of the source of its cacao.

We are committed to carrying forward John’s legacy, sourcing the finest cacao from the best Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and making the best tasting chocolate on the planet​,” said Cherrie.

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