Coal candy will return to Southern California for the 2019 season with the opening of a new restaurant and brewery in the heart of the state’s coal country.
The South Lake Union Coal Company, based in Santa Monica, announced the new venture at its opening ceremony Wednesday, bringing the coal candy company’s annual sales to more than $5 billion.
The new business will open at the historic South Lake Coal &Co. plant, which is owned by the Southern California Edison power utility and was formerly owned by General Electric.
South Lake Union is owned and operated by the same family that owns General Electric and General Motors.
The company was founded in 1894 and operates a coal-fired power plant that is the largest and most technologically advanced coal-burning power plant in the United States.
“This is a historic moment for South Lake,” said South Lake president and CEO Michael Toth.
“The company has always stood out for being innovative and producing innovative products and we’re thrilled to be the first in California to join the company in this new venture.”
Coal candy, which was once a staple in South Lake, is now available in stores nationwide.
The food and beverages category includes a coal candy drink and coal candy ice cream, and the food and beverage category is expected to generate about $2.5 billion in sales in 2019.
The company will begin to distribute the coal-filled candy products to local businesses this summer and open a new tasting room next year, said Steve DeMint, general manager of the coal beverage division.
The South Lake company also plans to open a retail outlet in Santa Cruz in 2019, and is exploring other locations.
Coal Candy was created in the late 1940s and was originally sold in small bottles by the U.S. Army and later by Coca-Cola.
The product was discontinued in 1994 after it became clear that coal use was not a sustainable solution for producing the energy it used to generate.