Surging demand for chocolate in the United States is driving up the need for expanded production capabilities among the largest chocolate companies in the nation.

Guittard Chocolate Company has expanded chocolate production, effective May 15, at its second facility in Fairfield, California. Guittard president and chief executive officer Gary Guittard announced that the strategic decision to add a second facility with chocolate production capabilities results from the long-range thinking integral to 20 years of planning for growth and innovation.

Guittard recognized years ago that the Bay Area’s ever-increasing technology and biotechnology sectors would challenge his company’s ability to grow near its headquarters in Burlingame, California. He located the Fairfield site 20 years ago and built the 300,000 square-foot facility in 2001, which is used for warehousing and high-speed packaging.

The addition of new, custom-designed proprietary chocolate production equipment allows Guittard to meet the growing domestic and international demand for its unique premium chocolate products from its three customer categories: wholesale/manufacturing, professional/foodservice, and consumer/retail.

The Bay Area’s See’s Candies, with which Guittard has a 60-year history, is among the makers of quality chocolate products that the Fairfield facility will further support. The company headquarters will remain at the Burlingame site, where proprietary processes and vintage equipment for producing specialty and limited-edition products as well as some of the traditional products, will continue.

Planning for future generations has been a hallmark of Guittard throughout its 150 years in the Bay Area.

“Foresight and thoughtful planning is how the company has managed to thrive and continue creating jobs here in Northern California in 2018,” says Gary Guittard, a member of the fourth generation to own and manage the firm. “That the long-anticipated launch of chocolate production in Fairfield also coincides with our 150th anniversary is sweet serendipity.”

Guittard will commemorate its 150th anniversary throughout the year and across the country with celebrations and pop-up events, collaborations, and the unveiling of a limited edition 150th anniversary chocolate blend for chefs.

In addition to honoring the farmers, workers, retailers and chefs who have supported Guittard throughout the years, Guittard will also bring its 150th anniversary to the people through a series of consumer events, historical society and restaurant partnerships, industry leadership and new products.

A limited-edition chocolate, Eureka Works 62%, was introduced in the spring. It’s a tribute to where Guittard began and is made with beans sourced from the same locations available to founder Etienne Guittard: South America, Indonesia and Samoa. The resulting chocolate demonstrates the West Coast flavor profile and reflects sourcing along the Pacific trade routes that has impacted the evolution of California-made chocolate.

The 150 years of Guittard serves as a snapshot of California food and commerce history from its start as a manufacturer and merchant during the Gold Rush to its position today as a chocolate industry leader and innovator.