Dewey’s Bakery has been around for more than 90 years; it began life in 1930, serving up sweet and savory baked treats to customers in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Then in 2006, former Krispy Kreme CEO Scott Livengood purchased the brand and expanded it to offer branded cookies, retail bakeries, and contract manufacturing.
In 2020, investment funding from Livengood, private equity outfit Eurazeo, and new CEO Mike Senackerib enabled the company to further its growth plans, which included taking the regional brand to the national level. Dewey’s Bakery enlisted experts at Little Big Brands (LBB) to formulate its strategy and reinvigorate its brand’s look and messaging (including the packaging) to help the long-standing brand stand out on crowded shelves.
To learn more, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery connected with:
- Ellen Howse, chief marketing officer, Dewey’s Bakery
- Richard Palmer, executive creative director, Little Big Brands
Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us a bit about Dewey’s Bakery—how you got started, key milestones and growth in your 90+-year history, and what sets you apart from other companies in the premium cookie space?
Ellen Howse: Dewey’s Bakery is a premium, clean-label cookie manufacturer with a strong following among millennial adults. Our exceptionally thin cookies with unexpectedly big flavors are made with time-honored recipes we’ve used for over 90 years; we still maintain our flagship bakery in Winston-Salem, and we are committed to small-batch baking.
On a mission to make every day a little sweeter for everyone, Dewey’s cookies are expanding across the U.S. in select grocery, convenience, and club stores, with online shipping capabilities at Deweys.com and Amazon. This past October, we expanded our retail distribution to all Albertsons Companies banners, giving us a true national presence. Our product line includes Meyer Lemon, Triple Ginger, Brownie Crisp, Salted Caramel, Toasted Coconut, and Peanut Butter flavors, and we are introducing a Key Lime flavor as a limited-time-only product in spring 2023.
What sets us apart from other companies in the premium cookie space is our Southern authenticity, 100% real ingredients, bold flavors, and “permissible indulgence”— our crisp cookies are packed with flavor, but their thin profile makes them naturally lower in calories so you can eat a stack or a handful without the guilt.
JS: How did you come to collaborate with Little Big Brands, and what about the company did you feel made them a good partner in the rebranding journey?
EH: With LBB’s design, branding, and storytelling expertise, we knew that we had found the perfect partner for our national ambitions. With LBB, we get the talent of a large agency combined with the hands-on feel of a more boutique agency—truly the best of both worlds. Their company values align with Dewey’s, which is important to us. We look forward to continuing our journey with them.
JS: Please tell us some of the thinking behind the rebranding. What about the previous brand messaging, market positioning, and packaging design did Dewey’s Bakery feel could stand a refresh?
Richard Palmer: The brand needed a modern makeover with meaning, a point of difference, and a stronger brand visual identity system. Dewey’s local roots are important, however, some of the existing regional language was polarizing when considering national scale. LBB redefined the brand’s purpose “to make every day a little sweeter for everyone” and its promise to "bake a bit of magic into every bite." This gave LBB permission to explore the bakery in a more iconic and disruptive way while finding opportunities to bring in hints of the whimsical magic the brand has always maintained.
JS: Can you please share some of the most notable elements of the new packaging, and how the awning and other elements both tell your brand’s story and engage customers from store shelves?
RP: LBB repurposed the black and white palette from the previous brand packaging to work in a much more purposeful way. The Awning was developed to bring nostalgic visual connotations of that Hometown Bakery and conjure up memories of that wonderful fresh-baked smell. It in turn provides tremendous brand blocking and recognition in retail and e-commerce. A proprietary Illustration style was created to tell the story of the bakery's heritage in a whimsical way. It also creates magical discoveries for consumers to engage with, all around the package.
JS: Please tell us about the limited-edition holiday flavors you’ve launched—are any or all of the Gingerbread, Hot Cocoa, Pumpkin Spice, and Apple Cider flavors new or hearkening back to flavors you’ve offered in past seasons? Then, describe the elements of the flavors, please.
EH: We are bringing back our four popular, limited-edition flavors this year, and each one has been improved to make them even more flavorful. Our Pumpkin Spice and Apple Cider flavors were launched to welcome in the fall:
- Pumpkin Spice: This time-honored recipe channels the flavor of our fresh-baked pumpkin pie into each perfectly thin, crisp cookie. The comforting blend of spices, including cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, will transport you to autumn memories of crunchy leaves and crackling fires.
- Apple Cider: Like a pot of hot cider brewing on the stove, these delectable cookies have a warm, familiar flavor that’s perfect for getting cozy on crisp fall evenings. They’re made with apple crumbles and a blend of spices. Find a spot in front of the fireplace and enjoy the best flavor of the season – no mug required!
Our Gingerbread and Hot Cocoa flavors are launching now, just in time for the winter holidays:
- Gingerbread: When the holiday season arrives, the irresistible scent of ginger, molasses, cloves, and cinnamon fills our bakery. Generations of kids in our hometown of Winston-Salem, NC have grown up savoring our famous gingerbread men, and their one-of-a-kind flavor shines through in these delectable little morsels.
- Hot Cocoa: When the weather outside is frightful, reach for these amazingly chocolaty cookies that will warm your heart like a fresh mug of hot cocoa. Their comforting, familiar flavor will bring back memories of warming up by the fire after a day of sledding and snowball fights.
For Spring 2023, we are excited to launch our Key Lime flavor, on a limited basis. Featuring vibrant cold-pressed key lime oil and a dash of pure cane sugar, your tastebuds will feel like they’re transported to a tropical sunny vacation.
Our thin, crispy, and remarkably flavorful seasonal cookies are made with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives—only 15 calories per cookie and 120 calories per serving.
JS: What does Dewey’s Bakery have planned next—any plans to introduce other new products, expand into new markets, etc.?
EH: Our team of bakers is always looking for new ways to delight! Look for new flavors of our traditional thin cookies to launch in 2023, as well as some tasty new product platforms that build from our thins’ heritage. In addition to our Mini Cookie snack pouches, we are also introducing new on-the-go and family packs. We will continue to expand throughout the US, everywhere that premium cookies are sold.