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Drake's (formerly called "Drake Bakeries, Incorporated" from 1913 to 1970) is a snack cake brand that was previously a baking company in Brooklyn, New York and later Wayne, New JerseyUnited States, now owned by McKee Foods, makers of the Little Debbie brand. It makes snack cakes such as Ring DingsYodels, Devil Dogs, Yankee Doodles, Sunny Doodles, Funny Bones, Coffee Cakes, Zoinks!, Honey Buns, Blueberry Muffins, Banana Nut Muffins, Blueberry Mini Muffins, Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, Cheese Danish Pastries, and Cherry Cheese Danish Pastries. Since 1896, their mascot is a smiling duck holding a spoon and wearing a chef's hat and neckerchief.

HistoryEdit

The company's founder, Newman E. Drake (d.1930), baked his first pound cake in Brooklyn, New York, in 1888 after visiting an English bakery. In 1896, he opened his first bakery, the Drake Baking Company in Brooklyn, which sold his pound cakes by the slice or by the pound, and the recipe would be famous in a few years. In 1900, it became known as the Drake Brothers Bakery, when his brother Charles joined. They began using horse-drawn carriages for deliveries. By 1913, the name was Drake Bakeries Incorporated, though "Drake Brothers Bakery" continued to be used.

Soon a whole line of cakes began to be added. Coffee Cakes were added in 1916, Devil Dogs in 1923, Ring Dings in 1958, Yodels in 1963.[2]

By the late 1960s, Drake Bakeries was owned by the huge Borden food company, along with Cracker Jack and Wise Potato Chips. In 1970, the manufacturing and executive offices moved from Brooklyn to Wayne, NJ. In 1987, Borden sold the company to Ralston Purina, which owned ITT Continental Baking Company, makers of rival Hostess Cakes and Wonder Bread. This created a virtual monopoly in some areas, soon blocked by the government. While the union lasted, Hostess was able to use the name Ding Dong for its Ring Ding clone in formerly restricted areas. When dissolved, instead of restoring the product's original Big Wheels moniker, Hostess compromised with a new "King Dons" trademark for the affected areas. During this period, Drake's celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1988, and Steve Gratzel, head of Drake's research and development department, produced the world's largest Ring Ding cake. Drake's was soon sold off to management.

For a time in the 1980s, Drake's produced a line of imitation Twinkies, including versions filled with strawberry, banana, or chocolate creme. They were originally called Shortcakes. Later, when only the plain vanilla Twinkie-clone was being produced, they were renamed Zoinks!, before the line was discontinued. This product returned to shelves on September 23, 2013.

Drake's was acquired by the Canadian company Culinar in 1991. Among the highlights of this period was the introduction of a pastry called "Pick 'M Ups", which became the only Drake's brand product to contain animal fats. A frosted chocolate cupcake that looked like Hostess' signature CupCake with a white icing swirl also appeared under the Drake's label, though Drake's never produced such an item on its own. In 1994 Culinar also initiated a drastic restructuring and optimization of the company-owned sales routes, which enabled Drakes to become profitable by 1997.

In 1998 Drake's was sold by Culinar, Inc., to Interstate Bakeries Corporation, which had previously acquired ITT/CBC and its Hostess and Wonder brands. The resultant market concentration was not blocked, because other companies such as Little Debbie had sufficiently expanded market share since the previous monopoly arbitration. In the New York City area Drake's and Hostess operations were combined, so that they shared the same trucks, delivery routes and store racks. Some Hostess cakes distributed in the Northeast, such as Twinkies and Ding Dongs, were produced at the Drake's bakery and bore a Kosher certification symbol in those market areas.

A leveraged buyout by Ripplewood Holdings of Interstate Bakeries Corporation in 2009 left the company with a remarkably heavy debt load. The new owners rechristened the company as "Hostess Brands" and moved the headquarters to Irving, Texas while maintaining the operations center in Kansas City, Missouri. Managers underfunded the pension plan as the company struggled to manage its debt, and further provoked union workers by tripling the compensation of top executives after employees had accepted wage cuts.[3] On November 16, 2012, the Hostess Brand company announced plans shut down and to liquidate all assets.

It was announced on April 9, 2013 that the purchase of the Drake's business by McKee Foods for $27.5 million had been approved by a US Bankruptcy court judge.

On September 23, 2013, McKee brought Drake's Yodels, Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Coffee Cakes back to store shelves in the northeastern United States. However, the company has not indicated at the time interest in bringing back these products to other areas of the U.S., such as Florida, where the products were much in-demand until Hostess closed in 2012. Also, many patrons are hoping Drakes will bring back the fan favorites Yankee Doodles, Sunny Doodles, and Funny Bones, but no word has been given as to why the Doodles products haven't been brought back to the marketplace. According to Mike Gloekler, director of communications at McKee Foods, Funny Bones are a challenge because of the inclusion of peanut butter, which raises food allergen cross-contamination risks in manufacturing facilities. “It’s not cost effective to run alongside our current equipment,” he said. “That product almost needs its own dedicated line,” as is the case with existing Little Debbie peanut butter products which use different equipment than cakes.[6] Instead, several Little Debbie products also began to be distributed under the Drake's brand, such as Honey Buns, Blueberry Muffins, Banana Nut Muffins, Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins, and Blueberry Mini Muffins and Danish Pastries. Little Debbie Cloud Cakes were rebranded as the new Zoinks (which look very similar to Hostess' Twinkies). At that time, they celebrated their 125th anniversary. On November 28th of that year, the Duck mascot appeared on the Uncle Sam's Top Hat float at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, where the float was sponsored by Drake's.

Around February 2014, they brought back the Donut Delites (their answer to Hostess Donettes) in two varieties, Powdered and Frosted.

Packaging

Drake's Cakes never made it to stores until the 1960s.

  • 1960s-1970s: The logo is the word "Drake's" in italics with the duck balancing a plate with Newman Drake's pound cake on his finger.
  • 1970s-1988: The logo is now a blue flag with "Drake's" and the appostrophe is replaced with the duck.
  • 1988-1997: The logo is now a half orange/blue ribbom depicted with a circle where the duck's head is. "Drake's" in ITC Avant Garde Gothic is underneath. The name of the cake is in a 1970s font outlined in these colors:
    • Coffee Cakes: Outlined in orange.
    • Devil Dogs: Outlined in red.
    • Ring Dings: Outlined in a color that mixes purple and pink.
    • Yankee Doodles: Outlined in navy blue.
    • Yodels: Outlined in blue.
  • 1997-November 16, 2012, September 23, 2013-present: The packaging now consists of a blank white background. On the top, it's half orange accompanied by a blue ribbon with the duck on the left. Where the duck is, "Drake's" in Friz Quadrata font appears. On the white background is a random color outline product name in VAG Rounded font. Just like the previous packaging, the color key is what follows:
    • Apple Fruit Pies: Outlined in green.
    • Boston Cremes: Outlined in dark navy blue.
    • Cherry Fruit Pies: Outlined in red.
    • Coffee Cakes: Outlined in orange.
    • Devil Dogs: Outlined in red.
    • Ring Dings: Outlined in purple/pink.
    • Sunny Doodles: Outlined in yellow.
    • Yankee Doodles: Outlined in navy blue.
    • Yodels: Outlined in blue.
Below it is two of the said cakes, with one bitten, cut open to show the filling, or not eaten. On the left, there's text saying how they're wrapped (Ring Dings, Coffee Cakes and Yodels are "twin wrapped", and Devil Dogs is the only one to be "individually wrapped") followed by how many cakes there are (Ring Dings, Yodels and Coffee Cakes have 10 cakes, Devil Dogs are the only ones to have 8 cakes). Above the net weight byline is a blue (later changed to yellow in 2005) ribbon saying "Freshness Guaranteed". In 2006, the product name is shrunk to make room for the word "BY" and the Hostess logo on the left, due to Drake's being owned by Hostess.
  • September 23, 2013-present: Same as the 1997 version, except the "Freshness Guaranteed" ribbon remains yellow, the blue outline is outlined in white, and only on the cakes we're familiar with (except for the Zoinks!), "Since 1888, 125 Years of Delicious" in white and in Helvetica Rounded font appears. The color key is as follows:
    • Banana Nut Muffins: Outlined in grey/orange.
    • Blueberry Muffins: Outlined in navy blue.
    • Blueberry Mini Muffins: Outlined in navy blue.
    • Cheese Danish Pastries: Outlined in yellow.
    • Cherry Cheese Danish Pastries: Outlined in red.
    • Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins: Outlined in brown.
    • Coffee Cakes: Outlined in orange.
    • Devil Dogs: Outlied in red.
    • Frosted Donut Delites: Outlined in brown.
    • Honey Buns: Outlined in grey.
    • Powdered Donut Delites: Outlined in blue.
    • Ring Dings: Outlined in purple/pink.
    • Yodels: Outlined in blue.
    • Zoinks!: Outlined in purple.
  • Spring 2014-present: Only on the Yodels, all was kept, only the "Since 1888, 125 Years of Delicious" part is deleted. When McKee Foods started the "OH! Outdoor Happiness Movement", of which a promotional image can be seen on the Devil Dogs packages, the 125 years disclaimer is removed. Drake's announced that in the rest of 2014 to the future, they might keep the disclaimer

This is a category for Drake's products.

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