Hershey to Close Down Scharffen Berger’s Berkeley Chocolate Factory

28 Jan

Dude, what the fuck.

Sorry, I have to use profanity here.  Hersey, which bought Scharffen Berger back in 2005, said Tuesay that it plans on closing its West Berkeley chocolate factory sometime this year.


Hershey already makes most of the chocolate labeled as Scharffen Berger at its Robinson, Illinois plant.

Hersey spokesman Kirk Saville said: “We will continue to source the world’s best cacao to create our rich and distinct chocolate.  We will maintain the highest quality standard for all our artisan productions.”

That’s like someone saying they’re going to make Burgundy in California.  Californian pinot noirs can be great, but they are never going to be Burgundies.

What a terrible time for Sharffen Berger fans, Berkeleyites, and foodies everywhere.  What a terrible time, too, for John Sharffenberger, who in 1996 founded the company with his doctor friend Robert Steinberg.

Steinberg died of cancer in September of last year.  Deborah Kwan, a publicist for Sharffen Berger, uttered perhaps the saddest words I’ve read in a while: “I’m glad Robert is not alive to see this.

“If the lymphoma hadn’t taken him, this would have.”

(Thank you to the SF Chronicle for the primary article and North Bay Bohemian’s BohoBlog for the picture.)


6 Responses to “Hershey to Close Down Scharffen Berger’s Berkeley Chocolate Factory”

  1. jhon doe January 28, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    fuck you assholes

  2. James @ The Eaten Path January 28, 2009 at 9:15 pm #


  3. Kris January 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Booooooo! That place is great and a tradition. Maybe they can get some bailout money, keep it open.

  4. Shea January 28, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Shit! I better go there asap! Where is the factory? I’ve only been to the Ferry Building store.

  5. vinicultured January 29, 2009 at 6:45 am #


    It’s at 914 Heinz Avenue in Berkeley. It’s near the corner of San Pablo and Ashby.

    Go to http://www.scharffenberger.com for more details. You have to sign up, I believe, for tours.

    It’s really terrible. Next you’ll hear about Gallo or something buying and then closing Kermit Lynch.

    One wonders whether Hershey intended to do this all along. They could probably blame the economy, but who knows…?

  6. James @ The Eaten Path January 30, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    If Hershey had been moving production to their central units since the purchase, it’s a good bet that closing the original factory was always on the table. Sigh.

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