This Place in History: Vermont Maid Syrup

Vermont History

BURLINGTON, Vt.

At ‘This Place in History’, we’re on Pine Street with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We’re going to talk about Vermont Maid breakfast syrup. It says, ‘The Taste That New England Loves’. Now, of course, all of us Vermonters out here know that the taste New England really loves is pure maple syrup. This is not pure maple syrup. However, little known fact, maybe some people know this, it was actually developed in Vermont,” explained Perkins.

“In 1900, Vermont was industrializing pretty quickly. A lot of businesses were opening up here. They had access to the rail and to the lake for transporting stuff and maple was going from this cottage industry into something that could be packaged into cans and jugs and shipped around. There were these two brothers from Missouri, the Welch brothers, and they said we’re going to move to Vermont and we’re going to open up a canning factory to can maple syrup. They also made maple candy and maple sugar.”

“They opened up first over near Church Street, then quickly behind us, they opened this building in 1900, which is now Great Harvest Baking Company, to process syrup.”

“In 1906, there was a law called the Pure Foods Law and it allowed blended foods and they got this great idea. Maple syrup is a little pricey and cane sugar was coming way down in price. So what if we mixed maple syrup with cane sugar and bottled it as a breakfast syrup? And so Vermont Maid at that time was born, made right here in Burlington until 1968,” explained Perkins.

“This was shipped all over the country. Unfortunately, more people got to know this as breakfast syrup than pure maple syrup. So still you travel around the country and this was the first stuff and then you’ve got Log Cabin and Aunt Jemima, all the same thing. It’s a little bit of maple syrup, 10% at the time in the early 1900s, and now it’s 2%, and they switched out the cane sugar for corn syrup. But it still says Vermont Maid on it. It’s not made in Vermont anymore. Now it’s made in New Jersey,” concluded Perkins.

At ‘This Place in History’!

For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historical markers, click here.

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