Brach's Pick-A-Mix

Ah, yes. Even more goodness from Pinterest, this time provided by Once Upon A Product. My earliest memory of a Brach’s Pick-A-Mix POP display was at the Lucky grocery store by my house back in Westchester (1980). I don’t remember any signage aside from the Brach’s logo, so I never quite understood how it worked; I mean, there were bins and bins of candy right there, unguarded, at my disposal. I didn’t see any prices and I knew that cashiers needed some kind of barcode to scan or code in…so how did they keep track of the Brach’s Pick-A-Mix inventory? It was simply too much of a temptation. I wondered, how could they even know if I took one? Just one? There was no way that somebody counted every single piece at the end of the day, right?

Well, eventually, every time my parents sent me to buy groceries (usually milk, since my brothers and I drank so much of it all the time), I would pass by the Brach’s collection, look around nervously with my heart racing, and grab a piece of candy or two. My favorites were the square caramel chews or the neapolitan ones (3-layered chews with chocolate, coconut and strawberry…omg), or the butterscotch drops, or the sugar-coated gummy “brick” things that were green, orange or purple. There were also these shiny assorted foil-wrapped tootsie-roll looking things called “Royals” that were awesome—plus, they were skinny enough that I could actually grab a handful without looking too conspicuous.

This went on for quite some time—months and months, maybe almost a year at least—until one day I finally noticed a large, imposing sign that clearly stated they were sold by weight and to use a bag for purchases. Beneath was also handwritten in big letters, “NO SAMPLING.” I couldn’t have been alone in my misadventures…or was I?

Update: Well, well, well. Little did I know that only a click away lies, who not only remembers Brach’s candies like I do, but also has a freakin’ authentic Brach’s salesman display tray from the ’70s! #$(@$@#$!!

Brach's salesman bulk candy display (via

Brach’s salesman bulk candy display (1970s) – Image via

Am I not the only one who salivates at the thought of eating some Brach’s candy right now? I can hear each and every crisp and crinkly crack of that cellophane candy wrapper in my little 9-yr.-old hands as I prepared myself for yet another sugary journey to happiness. Ah, sweet torture. Let’s bring ‘er in for a closer look.

Brach's Royals (via

Brach’s Royals – Image via

Yup, those Royals were awesome. I loved their shiny foil packaging and assortment of flavors within them. Truthfully, I often spent some minutes at the store just gazing wondrously into what seemed to be a bottomless bin of Royals…of course, before I grabbed a few and took off. Ah, and my sweet old friends…those “jelly sugar-coated brick things”…well there they are. So good to see you again after all these years.

Brach's Perkys (1970s) - image via

Brach’s Perkys (1970s) – image via

But what’s this? They have a real name? Why, yes! Perkys. Ah yes folks, behold once more the magic of the internet and how instantly we acquire information. Just think—if it weren’t for the web, I probably would’ve never known that those “jelly sugar-coated brick things” were actually called Perkys…annnnd…I wouldn’t have known that they were Brach’s answer to Chuckles candy. How do I know this? See below.

Brach's Perkys ad (1986) - Image via

Brach’s Perkys ad (1986) – Image via

See how that red one boasts its shiny jelly interior? I vividly remember studying the marks my front teeth made when I bit one in half just like that…and wondered if someone could identify me by matching that with my dental records. Yes, I was geeky/dorky like that, and I still am.

I actually don’t remember Chuckles candy, although they do look good. Now I’m hungry.

Before I go to bed: Months ago I discovered The Candy Wrapper Museum while reminiscing with some co-workers about all the great candy from back in the day. I highly recommend a visit. Just remember to brush your teeth afterwards.

Much thanks to for this week’s sentimental trip.

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