We're proud that for over 100 years, from generation to generation, we've remained a family company dedicated to serving up the best! We're proud to share some of the highlights of our history with you. Of course, the best way to learn about us is to come check out our Visitor Center outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. But for now, let us tell you about an uncommon company with a deep-seated passion for beans. It all started with canning...and a can-do attitude.
Bush Brothers & Company is born
A family cannery
The company that would one day be known for beans started out as a tomato cannery in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee. As Americans clamored for the convenience of canned fruits and vegetables, Bush Brothers & Company added blackberries, peaches, hominy and yes, green beans, products grown, harvested and canned locally in Tennessee.
New can and processing technologies helped the company grow through World War I. However, the end of the war and the crash of the tomato market nearly forced us out of business.
Thankfully, the brothers were able to incorporate in 1922 and canning operations recovered as the market bounced back and the "roaring 20s" breathed fresh life into tomato and other commodity markets.
During the Great Depression, inexpensive foods like hominy and sauerkraut fed struggling families and helped Bush Brothers & Company operate. The development of Pork & Beans in 1934 was an additional inexpensive staple that quickly became popular.
Beans come on the scene
A mid-century ‘a-ha!’
Production ramped up for the war effort while our line of products continued to expand. Bush Brothers & Company canned and shipped OD green cans of Pork and Beans for American troops overseas throughout World War II.
A.J. Bush's sons continued to run the company's day-to-day operations, even as they mourned the death of their parents, A.J. and Sallie Bush in 1946.
In 1952, we added a line of variety beans. Eureka!
Consumers were eager to buy this quick, convenient alternative to dry beans. Canning dry beans allowed for year-round operation and would help set the stage for later “table-ready” products.
THE BIRTH OF BUSH'S® BAKED BEANS
success in the ’70s & ’80s
Pork & Beans were commonly being used as an ingredient in homemade Baked Beans. And Baked Beans were also popular in Boston and in the northeast. Condon was convinced that existing Baked Beans just hadn't hit the right taste profile.
In 1969, Condon Bush working together with a few fellow employees at our Augusta, Wisconsin facility developed Bush's Baked Beans based on a Secret Family Recipe.
Baked Beans sales grew throughout the 1970s and 80s and inspired the company to introduce additional “table-ready” items. It was those Baked Beans, however, that would ultimately prove to be our biggest success in company history.
Closing out the 20th century
In the 1990s, Bush Brothers & Company transformed itself from a regional cannery to a national brand presence. Jay Bush (A.J.'s great-grandson) starred in the company's first national TV ad in 1994. A year later he was joined by Duke, his inimitable sidekick and talking golden retriever.
Baked beans & beyond
A tasty future
Borrowing a smart page from our early company playbook, we returned to high quality canned variety beans with renewed enthusiasm. We introduced a new blue label for our canned beans, which proved to be popular in recipes, and alone as side dishes.
In 2008, we celebrated our company's 100th anniversary with the launch of BUSH'S® Grillin' Beans®–the most successful introduction in company history (so far).
Most recently, our easy-to-make Savory Beans were named the top Convenience Meal of 2019 by Product of the Year USA, based on a nationwide survey of 40,000 shoppers.
The future of beans is bright. Our test kitchen is currently cooking up even more exciting new products and flavors. We can’t reveal what they are just yet, but trust us—they’re gonna be tasty.
Bush Brothers & Company began as a family company, and remains one to this day. It's an important part of who we are. For generations, our mission has been to provide nothing but the best to homes and tables nationwide.