Kettle Award

Kettle Award

Judy Hilliard McCarthyJudy Hilliard McCarthy
Hilliards Chocolates
North Easton, MA

Judy Hilliard McCarthy found her passion as a child growing up in the candy business working alongside her father who built Hilliards Chocolate Systems. In 1981, Judy and her husband Charlie McCarthy sold their home, quit their jobs and in a leap of faith embarked upon reviving the family candy business as it was nearing bankruptcy. The leap paid off.

Today, under their leadership, Hilliards Chocolates is one of New England’s most beloved artisan chocolate brands with a growing online business and three retail locations on Boston’s South Shore.

Dedicated to offering loyal customers the signature recipes enjoyed by generations, Judy also keeps an eye on consumer trends. In 2018, she spearheaded a PR campaign resulting in Hilliards Peppermint Bark being named among Oprah’s Favorite Things,
a national accolade bringing increased sales from around the country. Also, she’s always introducing creative packaging and innovative products, such as Craft Beer Caramels, winner of “Best New Piece” at the 2019 Annual Retail Confectioners International Conference.

Currently in the midst of a growth strategy, including the launch of a new candy kitchen to increase production capacity and efficiencies, Judy successfully manages the daily demands of the business while also maintaining her commitment to the industry at large.  She’s actively involved in the New England Retail Confectioners Association (NERCA) and Retail Confectioners International (RCI); has chaired several RCI committees; serves on the RCI Board of Directors and, was recently RCI President. As an advocate for sugar reform, Judy attended a National Confectionery Association (NCA) Washington fly-in to meet with her state’s congressional leaders.

Judy is loved and respected by her team, as she mentors and encourages them to hone their skills by attending confectionary courses and events. Hilliards stores are members of their local Chambers of Commerce and support charities and school fundraising events in their communities.

Married for 44 years, Judy and Charlie were high school sweethearts.They have three children and three grandchildren, and their daughters Erin and Maegan remain active in the business.