1895 - 1920
St_Thomas
Kerr Bros. Limited was founded in 1895 by Edward & Albert Kerr. Emigrating from Scotland they opened a bakery and candy store in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada. They sold their store in 1898 and moved to Brantford, Ontario to open their first of six factories with visions of bigger and better things for their confections. In 1904 the Kerr brothers moved their business to Toronto, Ontario to be closer to their principle suppliers and began making their first foil wrapped chocolate bar confections. In 1907 the Kerrs expanded their operations and built a factory in Jamesburg, NJ opening as Kerr Butterscotch Inc.. Having used paper bags to pack their candy they changed to folding boxes to pack their Butterscotch bars and sales reached over ten million bars after the first world war.
1920 - 1945
bars
In 1929 the Kerr brothers hired Ross Patterson as the general manager to run the Canadian operations. In the great depression of the 1930's sales of confectionary dropped and the Kerr brothers modernized their packaging to stimulate impulse sales. In 1937 another change was necessitated by new laws requiring ingredients to be printed on the packages. In 1939 Kerr's began to market their very first Scotch Whip chocolate bar, Peppermint Pattie and Chocolate Toffee Nut bar. Patterson originated the idea of the Highlander which has continued to be the firms trademark in addition to having the special Kerr's script apparent on todays confectionary packages. During the second World War the bulk of their confectionary was supplied to various war agencies of the government which popularized the brand more then ever.
1945 - 1970
kitchen
In 1945 Ross Patterson was promoted to president of the company. As the demand for Kerr's product increased the firm began to acquire automatic packaging machinery. In 1948 Patterson's son William joined the company after graduating from the University of Toronto. In 1954 he was promoted to treasurer and assistant general manager. In 1957 the Kerrs closed their US operations to focus their resources on the Canadian market. In 1959 Ross Patterson suddenly passed away leaving his son William to run the company; embarking upon its third generation. In the late 1960's Kerr's phased out their chocolate making operations to concentrate on their growing sugar confectionary business.
1970 - 1995
store_barrels
In the early 1970's William Patterson made the bold strategic move to automate their bagging operations. Moving from scooping candy into bags by hand, Kerrs purchased their first automatic bagging machine in 1972 followed by a second machine in 1977 and a third in 1982. This strategy made Kerrs one of the first Canadian companies to launch a brand of hanging style packages which came to be known as 'pegtop'. Throughout the 1980's Patterson's children joined the company assisting in the further automation of Kerr's operations and the development of the companies first range of no sugar added, calorie reduced confections. In the mid 1980's Kerr's commenced a major factory expansion giving it the much needed space to expand into confectionary panning and crunch making. In 1989 Robert Patterson was promoted to President.
1995 - Present
head_office
With the family tradition moving into the new millenium Kerrs now spans five generations with operations based in a modern 100,000 sq. ft. facility located in Toronto, Canada. In 2009 Robert Patterson announced his retirement and the company introduced Fayez Zakaria as the new president. His extensive business background further strengthened the company's position in the competitive confectionary market. Under Zakaria's leadership Kerr's soon boasted an R&D department and an enhanced quality assurance division that has seen the company secure its NHPD license and SQF quality control certification. Kerr's continues to look to the future of confectionary manufacturing while being sensitive to its past as one of the premier candy makers in Canada.