Barry Callebaut’s Americas headquarters celebrated 15 years in Chicago this month, alongside showcasing its remodeled Chocolate Academy and offices.
During a recent chocolate tasting event for media and Barry Callebaut’s community partners, Jerry Hagedorn, executive vice president, reminisced on when the company first opened in Chicago’s Montgomery Ward Building, now known as the Groupon building, in March 2007.
“What you have here is one of the best-kept secrets in the industry,” he said. “We love our city. We love where we are. We want to continue to be a good corporate citizen.”
In 2007, Barry Callebaut had 36 employees and occupied 11,027 sq. ft. of space. The following year, Barry Callebaut opened the Chicago Chocolate Academy, expanding its footprint to 27,708 sq. ft. In 2014, Barry Callebaut expanded onto the seventh floor of the Groupon building, adding roughly 10,000 sq. ft. more space.
In 2020, Barry Callebaut’s Chicago office underwent a major remodel, expanding again to a total of 56,478 sq. ft. The space now houses more than 200 employees.
In the Americas region, Barry Callebaut employs 3,700 people across six corporate offices, one distribution center, five Chocolate Academy locations and 18 factories. The company had a sales volume of 610,133 metric tons in 2020-2021.
“We selected Chicago, our country’s candy capital, as our regional headquarters with the goal of becoming a leader in the North American market,” said Steve Woolley, Americas' president and CEO in a press release. “Over the past 15 years, we have not only achieved becoming North America’s No. 1 chocolate manufacturer, but we also have seen huge success in volume growth and innovations. Barry Callebaut is leading the way for the chocolate industry, and I can only imagine what we’ll accomplish with a continued growth-mindset and people-focused strategy.”
During the celebration, Chef Lauren V. Haas, lead chef at Chicago’s Chocolate Academy, hosted a guided tasting of five Barry Callebaut offerings:
- Carma White Niobo 34%
- Callebaut Ruby 33%
- Callebaut Gold 30%
- Cacao Barry Lactée Supérieure 38%
- Cacao Barry Evocao WholeFruit Chocolate
In addition to available Barry Callebaut pastry creations, Evanston's Belgian Chocolatier Piron also provided bonbons for the event.