AS Kalev is a minor confectionery company in Estonia. The company can trace its origins back two hundred years,it was founded in 1806, and it is now a publicly-quoted Group with various other interests. Since 2003 it has been based in Porguvalja near Jüri, Rae Parish, Harju County.
Important Dates in the History of Kalev:
In 1806 – Birth of the Estonian confectionery industry: confectioner Lorenz Caviezel opens his confectionery business in Pikk Street, Tallinn, on the site of today's Maiasmokk café.
In 1864 - Georg Stude purchases the confectionery business and expands it. Marzipan figures and handmade chocolates were some of the most items made by the Stude shop that were most in demand. Amongst others, the family of the Russian emperor regularly ordered sweets from the Stude business. To this day AS Kalev manufacture marzipan figures and handmade choice chocolates, using old recipes and methods.
In 1921 – The best-known predecessor of AS Kalev, the chocolate and sweets factory Kawe, is founded. The production of the Kawe confectionery business, then the biggest in Estonia, was well known at home and abroad. The undertaking exported a notable percentage of its products to various countries: America, the United Kingdom, Tunisia, Morocco, France, India, China and elsewhere. Among the other big sweet producers of the time, the Ginovker (founded in 1906), Brandmann (1901) and Klausson (1920) factories could be mentioned. These enterprises, together with Kawe, employed over 75 per cent of Estonias confectionery workers at the end of the 1930s. Several smaller enterprises competed with the large ones: Riola, Endla, Eelis, Efekt and others.
In 1940 - The beginning of nationalisation and the combining of the confectionery producers. The Brandmann business was merged with the Riola factory; the new enterprise was called the Karamell sweet factory. Later the marzipan and chocolates department of Georg Stude confectionery joined Karamell. T he Pikk Street premises, which are known to date as the Maiasmokk café, continued to make cakes. Soon the Efekt, Eelis, Endla and Soliid factories, as well as the Ermos syrup factory located at Kloodi manor near Rakvere, were merged to form Kawe. The joint enterprise continued work under the name of Kawe.
In 1948 – On 1 April Kawe is renamed the Kalev confectionery factory. The change happened for political reasons: somebody had reported to the minister that the name of Kawe was formed from the initials of the former owners. This was unsuitable for a Soviet enterprise. A name contest was quickly organised, in which there were two proposals, “Punane Kompu (“Red Lolly) and Kalev. Kalev won out by just one vote.
In 1957 – The new premises of Uus Kalev are completed at 139 Pärnu Road; a year later the Karamell factory is merged with it.
In 1962 – The merger of confectionery producers is completed: Uus Kalev and Kalev are merged and the new enterprise is called the Kalev confectionery factory. Only one sweet manufacturer remained in Estonia, located at 139 Pärnu Road .
For the whole Soviet period Kalev manufactured sweets for Estonia and the rest of the Soviet Union, amongst others supplying the uncrowned rulers in the Kremlin. Kalev sweets were also acknowledged outside the Soviet Union, bringing back awards from several international trade fairs and exhibitions.
In 1991 – A Government-owned company, (RAS) Kalev, is formed from the Kalev confectionery factory.
In 1995 – RAS Kalev is privatised and a public limited company (AS) established.
In 1996 – AS Kalevs shares become listed on the Tallinn Stock Exchange.
In 2003 – AS Kalev leaves Tallinn for its new modern production complex in Põrguvälja, Rae rural municipality, Harjumaa County.
In 2006 – AS Kalev celebrates its 200th anniversary.