- The Mott Company Founded in 1842
- The Mott Company Becomes Duffy-Mott
- The 1930's: A Decade of Diversification
- Duffy-Mott Purchases Clapp's Baby Foods
- Go West: Expansions & Acquisitions
- Purchases & Consolidation
Mott's® was founded in 1842 by Samuel R. Mott in Bouckville, New York, where he made cider with the help of hitched horses that plodded in a circle, crushing apples between two large stone drums at the center of the 'sweep'. The crushed apples were shoveled into a crib with slatted sides, packed in straw and pressed by three men leaning on a lengthy level that operated a jack screw. The golden juice ran off into a tank beneath and was ready for bottling.
Mott's cider and vinegar caught the fancy of his neighbors and, as demand grew, so did the size of his mill. Water power and steam replaced his horse and now, with a son to help him, he began enjoying distribution far beyond the local market. Long before the turn of the century, Clipper ships were carrying 1,000 case lots of Mott's champagne cider and casks of Mott's vinegar around Cape Horn to California.
Mott's successfully exhibited their products at world fairs in Paris and Brussels. They promoted their wares, too, at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 and the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, picking up first prizes for quality.
In 1900, the Mott Company merged with the W.B. Duffy Cider Company of Rochester, NY. Like Mott, Duffy had also started his business in 1842. He had been the first to perfect a method for preserving apple cider in wood, a discovery that vastly increased its market.
At the Bouckville mill, scientific methods for filtering and preserving cider were adopted. The conversion of cider to vinegar would no longer take place through uncontrolled fermentation in open tanks. Instead, the oxidation process was employed for the first time in this country.
Until the thirties, Duffy-Mott had been almost entirely in the cider and vinegar business. There had been excursions into other fields such as champagne cider until Prohibition cut short its career. But during the decade following acquisition of the Standard Apple Products Company and its plant in Hamlin, NY in 1929, Duffy-Mott introduced a series of new fruit products that contributed more to its growth than events of any prior decade. In 1930, for example, applesauce was added to the Mott line.
In 1933, a further diversification move contributed to the company's growth. Duffy-Mott needed a product that could be produced in its apple processing plants during the off-season. Fortunately, it was able to work out an arrangement with California Prune and Apricot Growers Association (now Sunsweet Growers Inc.). They jointly introduced a product totally new to consumers prune juice. For over 40 years this relationship continued until Duffy-Mott introduced its own Super Mott's Prune Juice and related products.
Continuing with its expansion program, the company began to make jellies in 1936: pure apple jelly, orange marmalade and the "dual flavors" apple-raspberry, apple-strawberry, apple-currant, and apple-grape. These products were popular during depression years, but were dropped for faster moving items in later years.
In 1938, the company introduced Mott's apple juice to the American palate. Because cider had become established as a purely seasonal item, it was believed that warehousing and other problems could be eased with a year-round apple juice. The company's production people and researchers went to work to develop processing techniques whereby the natural flavor and bouquet of apples could be captured in a bottle. Speed of processing was the key here, along with various laboriously developed filtering and pasteurizing techniques.
In 1953, Duffy-Mott purchased the Clapp's Baby Foods division of American Home Products Company. Clapp's is the oldest name in baby food, the inspiration of Harold Clapp of Rochester, who launched this $300 million business quite inadvertently in 1921. Clapp's wife was ill at the time and it fell to him to prepare a special diet for his young son. The formula called for beef broth, vegetables and cereal. The infant did so well on the "soup" that Clapp made it available to friends, then sold it through drug stores. When Duffy-Mott took over Clapp's, it increased its line of 37 items to nearly 100. Subsequently, the company re-vamped its Williamson, NY plant to accommodate the demands of its apple products and discontinued the Clapp's line.
In 1959, Duffy-Mott made another significant addition to its line with the introduction of Mott's AM and PM two blended fruit juice drinks that combined apples and other fruits. Both drinks received quick and widespread acceptance.
Because of the location of its plants, Duffy-Mott had not been able to extend its Mott's lines west of the Rockies. But this pattern changed in June 1960, when the company leased the 407,000-square-foot plant and purchased all the processing equipment of the Pratt-Low Preserving Corporation from Thriftimart Inc., a West Coast food chain.
Pratt-Low was a 55-year-old packer of California fruit and vegetables and a nationally distributed line of dietary foods. Some 85 percent of its sales volume was from peaches, pears, fruit cocktail, and apricots. Other products included figs, plums, grapes, cherries, spinach, celery, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, pineapple, peas, corn, tomatoes and tomato juice, jellies, preserves, salad dressing and a maple-flavored syrup.
Until 1958, Duffy-Mott Company was owned by slightly over 100 persons who had been identified with the company's operations over the years. But by late 1958, there developed a need to increase working capital. Accordingly, the company for the first time sold its stock publicly. At that time there were approximately 3,000 stockholders throughout the country. Owners of the company, in fact, outnumbered its employees. Permanent employees numbered about 2,500 with this figure rising to approximately 6,000 during the fall months.
In 1961, Duffy-Mott undertook the "figure control" brand line of low-calorie foods which included such low-calorie items as fruit drinks, soups, meats, fish, dressings, sauces, desserts, and many others for the calorie-conscious adult. Along with new officers and new growth, the '60s added other new product lines: apricot and apple prune juice and apricot nectar under the Sunsweet label, as well as Mott's apple cranberry sauce and apple raspberry sauce.
Also introduced during that time period was a complete line of dessert fruits called Mott's Fruit Treats. The early 60's also saw the acquisition of Cherry Growers Co., Inc., of Michigan. In 1966, Duffy-Mott further increased its list of assets with the purchase of the Lord Mott Canning Company. Although the names are similar there was not a relation. That same year Duffy-Mott acquired the Tilghman Packaging Company which mainly packed seafood products. Duffy-Mott purchased the trademark and rights for Clamato and reformulated it as a clam and tomato flavor cocktail. Soon after the "Amato" name was broadened by the addition of Beefamato(r) and Nutramato.
By 1967, net sales had reached $71 million and the company had seven manufacturing plants which produced 10 apple products, 14 vegetable products, 24 "figure control" items, four prune juice items and six frozen seafood items.
By this time, the Duffy-Mott corporate growth included two plants in Michigan (Bailey and Hartford); three plants in New York (Holley, Hamlin and Williamson); and plants in Aspers, Pennsylvania; Santa Clara, California; Urbanna, Virginia; Morattico, New Jersey; Tilgham, Maryland; and Greenwood, Delaware. Under this new ownership and direction, it was determined that technical advancements and the sense of future market potential of apple products necessitated a consolidation of the company. In the mid-1970's, a streamlining of the company's operations resulted in the closing of all but two of the company's plants. During this period of time, Grandma's Molasses was being produced and ultimately became the number one molasses in the nation.
In 1982 Cadbury Schweppes, of candy and soft drink fame a firm based in London, England purchased the Duffy-Mott Company. Since the acquisition, other new products have been added including a shelf-stable concentrate product, various blended juices and new packaging concepts such as the Brik-Pak.
Today, Mott's is more energized and focused than ever on developing great tasting, healthy, and convenient apple-based products. New products like Mott's Plus juices and beverages, fortified with the entire family's health needs in mind, and Mott's applesauce provide "simple solutions" for busy moms looking for smart snacking choices for their kids.
JUICE PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION
Mott's is proud to be a member of the JPA, a trade association which advocates the fruit and fruit juice product industry. One of JPA's main objectives is to advance research establishing the health benefits of apples and apple products.
Mott's has partnered with KaBOOM! to show that playing is a great way to incorporate exercise into kids' daily lives. KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit dedicated to saving play. Play is critical to children's health, but it's disappearing from their lives at an alarming rate. To bring play back into the lives of children, KaBOOM! leads playground builds and hosts programs such as KaBOOM! Play Days presented by Mott's, which invites communities to enjoy fun games and activities together as they improve their local parks and playgrounds. Learn more at KaBOOM.org.