The Return (and History) of Reese’s Crunchy!!

CC_Reese's Crunchy TITLE PLATE

This year the Hershey company has given the confectionery world a tasty flashback with their latest revival of Reese’s Crunchy!  It’s exciting news and prompted me to look back over the history of Crunchy’s various revivals as well as its late 1970’s launch.  Make the jump to take a look!

Reese’s Crunchy was introduced to consumers way back in 1979.  Here’s the earliest mention of them I could find, in the form of a newspaper ad and coupon:

Reese's Crunchy - Introduction newspaper ad and coupon - March 1979

Reese’s Crunchy – Introduction newspaper ad and coupon – March 1979

Reese’s Crunchy launched with a wrapper design and large logo that emphasized the nut-filled nature of the offering.   The initial design only lasted a couple of years, but Hershey produced at least a few subtle variations on it.  I have four of them to share and since no two are identical, I’m including them all.  One of these was likely a vending version while the differences in the others could be explained by the wildly unstable sugar prices and/or inflation of the late 1970’s:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 1.2 oz - chocolate candy wrapper - 1979

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 1.2 oz – chocolate candy wrapper – 1979

Here’s the same 1.2 oz size wrapper but with a 20-cent printed-on price:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 20-cent 1_2 oz chocolate candy wrapper - circa 1979-1980

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 20-cent 1.2 oz chocolate candy wrapper – circa 1979-1980

And here’s a 20-cent version for a larger 1.5 oz:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 20-cent 1_5 oz chocolate candy wrapper - circa 1979-1980

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 20-cent 1.5 oz chocolate candy wrapper – circa 1979-1980

And finally a 25-cent printed price version in a 1.4 oz size.  This one is likely the vending version wrapper, as it sports a bar code different from the previous three:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 25-cent 1.4 oz chocolate candy wrapper - 1980

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 25-cent 1.4 oz chocolate candy wrapper – 1980

In 1981, the wrapper design for Reese’s Crunchy was altered to emphasize the Reese’s name.  The previous version could have appeared to some consumers as a unique product called “Crunchy” while the 1981 wrapper revision clearly communicated that it was a variety of the classic and beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 1.2 oz - chocolate candy wrapper - 1981

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 1.2 oz – chocolate candy wrapper – 1981

I also have a single cup wrapper for this second Reese’s Crunchy iteration.  Since this one lacks a bar code it was probably sold as part of a multi-pack:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - single - .6 oz - chocolate candy wrapper - 1983

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – single – .6 oz – chocolate candy wrapper – 1983

After its introduction here in the United States, Hershey of Canada was quick to get the Reese’s (Reese) Crunchy into distribution up north.   Hershey of Canada differentiated its packaging by giving it a bright yellow background color, as opposed to the standard Reese’s orange:

Canada - Hershey - Reese Crunchy - NEW - 34g chocolate candy wrapper - 1980

Canada – Hershey – Reese Crunchy – NEW – 34g chocolate candy wrapper – 1980

Canada - Hershey - Reese Crunchy - Bowling Coupon - 34g chocolate candy wrapper - 1981

Canada – Hershey – Reese Crunchy – Bowling Coupon – 34g chocolate candy wrapper – 1981

Canada - Hershey - Reese Crunchy - single - 17g chocolate candy wrapper - 1981

Canada – Hershey – Reese Crunchy – single – 17g chocolate candy wrapper – 1981

Canada - Hershey - Reese Crunchy - 23 extra - 63g chocolate candy wrapper - 1984

Canada – Hershey – Reese Crunchy – 23 extra – 63g chocolate candy wrapper – 1984

I have one last pair of Canadian Reese wrappers to show and they strike me as odd, due to the identifying color schemes being swapped, meaning the Crunchy sports the classic orange while the standard peanut butter cup is bright yellow:

Canada - Hershey - Reese Crunchy and regular - 171g 3-cup chocolate candy wrappers - 1990

Canada – Hershey – Reese Crunchy and regular – 171g 3-cup chocolate candy wrappers – 1990

Back to the United States, it seems clear that the original Reese’s Crunchy was eventually discontinued but it made a return in the 1990’s with a largely brown wrapper:

Reese's Crunchy wrapper - 1990's

Reese’s Crunchy wrapper – 1990’s

I’ve not been able to determine when the 1990’s version ended, but its 90’s retirement would also give way to revivals in the following decade.

The first revivals I could find didn’t actually invoke the Reese’s Crunchy name.  Rather, they were marketed as Reese’s “with Nuts!” and “with Chopped Nuts!”.

Hershey - Reese's Peanut Butter Cupts with Nuts Miniatures - 11oz candy package - mid-to-late 2000's

Hershey – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupts with Nuts Miniatures – 11oz candy package – mid-to-late 2000’s

Hershey - Reese's Big Cup with Nuts - New - 1.4 oz chocolate candy wrapper - 2006

Hershey – Reese’s Big Cup with Nuts – New – 1.4 oz chocolate candy wrapper – 2006

Though I missed it at the time, this period also brought a delicious-sounding Reese’s with Mixed Nuts [special thanks to my pal Brad Kent and his wonderful wrapper site.]

Reese's Big Cup with Mixed Nuts - mid-2000's - courtesy Brad Kent

Reese’s Big Cup with Mixed Nuts – mid-2000’s – courtesy Brad Kent

These would follow with a couple renewals, the first of which I found dating back to 2008 with this limited edition:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy Limited Edition - candy wrapper - 2008

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy Limited Edition – 1.5 oz candy wrapper – 2008

That would follow with a near-identical release in 2011 without the Limited Edition branding though it appears that it was, in fact, limited.

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 1.5 oz chocolate candy wrapper - 2011

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 1.5 oz chocolate candy wrapper – 2011

And finally, we’ve got the current revival which is hitting shelves now in both standard and Big Cup Crunchy versions.  The packaging has been redesigned for 2015, though the colors are evocative of the most recent limited edition release wrappers:

Hershey - Reese's Crunchy - 1.5 oz chocolate candy wrapper - February 2015

Hershey – Reese’s Crunchy – 1.5 oz chocolate candy wrapper – February 2015

Hershey - Reese's Big Cup Crunchy - King Size - 2.8 oz chocolate candy wrapper - February 2015

Hershey – Reese’s Big Cup Crunchy – King Size – 2.8 oz chocolate candy wrapper – February 2015

And that’s everything I’ve got to share on Reese’s Crunchy!

I do have two more items to showcase though, because Hershey also added nuts to their Reese’s Pieces product line in the last decade.  Here are the two packages I have from those releases:

Hershey - Reese's Pieces with Nuts - Limited Edition - 1.6 candy package - 2004

Hershey – Reese’s Pieces with Nuts – Limited Edition – 1.6 oz candy package – 2004

Hershey - Reese's Pieces with Nuts - 3.2 oz candy box - 2005

Hershey – Reese’s Pieces with Nuts – 3.2 oz candy box – 2005

And that’s everything!  It’s awfully cool to have Reese’s Crunchy back on shelves again and I hope you’ve enjoyed our look back at their origins and history.

See you next time!

CC_Reeses Crunchy Closing IMage

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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1 Response to The Return (and History) of Reese’s Crunchy!!

  1. David S. says:

    Excellent coverage – as always! These look tasty! I can’t be certain, but i’m almost positive I have tried these, back-in-the-day. However, this is the first time seeing crunchy Reese’s Pieces. Thanks, I was enlightened by seeing that wrapper!

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