Bear-shaped honey bottle

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Many honey producers in the United States market their products in bear-shaped bottles that have come to be popularly known as "honeybears." In fact, a survey conducted in 1995 showed that some 15.5 percent of the honey sold was packaged in such bottles.[1] The practice reportedly dates back to 1957 when Ralph Gamber, future president of the Dutch Gold Honey company, reasoned that "a bear likes honey, why not a bear of honey?"[2]

As with many such ideas, the origin of bear-shaped honey bottles is not totally clear-cut. Edward Rachins, for example, applied for a patent on a bear-shaped bottle several years before Gamber hit upon his idea.[3] It was Gamber's company, however, that popularized the honeybear. Plastics were not yet as ubiquitous or as easily produced as they are today and the idea was a gamble but it immediately paid off;[4] honeybears quickly became an American cultural icon. In the fall of 2007, Dutch Gold held a naming contest for the honeybear and the Gamber family selected "Nugget" from among the entries.[5]

Today, one may find a variety of shapes and sizes of bear-shaped honey bottles on the shelf at grocery stores or online. There are even websites where one may buy unused bear bottles for packaging and selling one's own products.


  1. Laurian J. Unnevehr and Fatoumata C. Gouzou. 1998. Retail Premiums for Honey Characteristics. Agribusiness 14(1):49-54.
  2. Bears celebrate 40 years of holding honey. The News and Record, May 19, 1997.
  3. Edward Rachin. 1950. Bottle or similar article. U.S. Patent D166995
  4. Honey firm finds bull market for its bear-shaped jars. Central Penn Business Journal, Dec 18, 1998.
  5. Dutch Gold Community Events Retrieved July 11, 2008.