As a 13-year-old, Kees Beyers woke up at 4:30AM every Saturday and Sunday to cycle to his neighbouring town to work part-time for a confectioner. His motivation was knowing that one day he wanted to own a chocolate factory.

Now a master chocolatier, Kees is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his company Beyers Chocolates. It was established in 1987, after Kees travelled to South Africa, fell in love with the country and decided to make it his home. He identified a gap in the local market for high quality, affordable chocolate, and so he realised his dream of starting a chocolate factory.

Beyers is a privately owned, family-run business that is today the largest independent manufacturer of boxed chocolates in the country. The company found success developing chocolate ranges under private labels and sub brands that it supplied to local markets and exported to the UK, America and Australia. In addition, it also supplied airlines, the hospitality industry and some of the country’s leading retailers with quality, handcrafted, proudly local products.

“We have strong relationships with many of the biggest local brands but when we became a supplier to Woolworths – over 25 years ago – it helped shape Beyers into the company that it is today,” says Kees Beyers, founder and CEO of Beyers Chocolates.

Beyers produces some of the country’s favourite chocolates including Sweetie Pie, Dream Bears and the Amarula chocolate range. Eight years ago Beyers made the decision to focus on producing its own brand of chocolate, to support their private label business. The company acquired two new brands, Coach House (2015) and Yottis Turkish Delight (2016) as part of its expansion strategy. Its ultimate goal is to provide retailers with a complete solution of confectionery goods.

“Making quality chocolate is at the heart of what we do and this is only possible with loyal and dedicated staff. I’m proud to say that some employees have been with us for 28 years and we’ve even had generations of families choosing to work at Beyers. This is why we all came together, as one big family, to celebrate our anniversary and our success,” says Kees Beyers. “While I’m incredibly proud of everything we have achieved since we first opened our doors, a special moment for me was when my daughter told me her favourite thing is eating chocolate with her name on it.”

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