Antanas Gricevičius was born in Šiauliai in 1877. His parents, Antanas and Teklė Gricevičius, raised five sons. When he was eighteen years old, Antanas travelled to Vilnius and got a job at Viktorija as an apprentice, where he soon became a foreman. In 1902, he received personalised gifts from the owners of the factory owing to his exemplary service: first a silver, and then a gold watch, both of which can be seen at the Chocolate Museum. While still working in Vilnius, Antanas Gricevičius fell in love with the factory worker Juzefa Petkevičiūtė, whom he married and they later returned to Šiauliai.
Rūta, the Factory Belonging to Antanas Gricevičius (1913–1940)
ESTABLISHMENT OF A CONFECTIONERY FACTORY
The history of the Rūta confectionery factory began in Šiauliai in 1913, when 36-year-old Antanas Gricevičius installed a caramel boiling kettle in his small wooden house. The first workers at the factory were the owners themselves – Antanas and his wife Juzefa. At that time, most business enterprises in Lithuania were managed by the representatives of ethnic groups. In order to emphasise the Lithuanian nature of the workshop, Gricevičius named it after the national plant – Rūta.
FIRST WORLD WAR
In 1915, the factory was closed as the fighting in the First World War was approaching Šiauliai. Antanas moved to Russia with his family, where he later he completed confectionery courses in St. Petersburg. In 1917, Antanas Gricevičius returned to Šiauliai with his wife and eldest children Vlad and Marija, and they began to rebuild the factory that had been almost destroyed. Owing to the efforts of its hard-working and energetic founder, the factory gradually began to grow and expand.
In 1922, Rūta won the first gold medal at the Lithuanian Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition in Kaunas. Later, the talent of Antanas Gricevičius as a confectioner was awarded 4 more gold medals at the Agricultural Exhibitions of Independent Lithuania. The Rūta company products were also awarded at international exhibitions, winning the Grand Prix in Italy in 1929 and a gold medal in Great Britain 1931.
THE INTERWAR PERIOD
The company flourished during the interwar period. In 1929, Antanas Gricevičius constructed a new production building with a room for a shop, according to a project by the famous architect Karolis Reisonas. At that time, the factory already had 160 employees and produced as many as 300 different sweets. In order to stand out in a competitive environment, the founder of the factory collaborated with the best Lithuanian artists and poets – they helped to implement the most interesting ideas that Gricevičius came up with and helped to create unique packaging.
Nationalised Rūta (1940–1993)
SECOND WORLD WAR
During the Second World War, Rūta was nationalised. Therefore, like other confectionery factories during the Soviet period, it produced candy according to standardised, approved recipes that were followed throughout the Union. In exceptional cases, recipes created by the company’s specialists were approved by a designated institution in Moscow.
LIETUVAITĖ EXCLUSIVE SWEETS
In 1969, the Rūta confectionery factory started producing Lietuvaitė sweets – and the recipe has not changed to this day. The Lietuvaitė are designed as three-layer soufflé and jelly sweets with chocolate. The creation of the tricolour motif was inspired by the fostering of Lithuanian traditions during the interwar period.
Rūta, the Factory Belonging to the Grandchildren of Antanas Gricevičius since 1993
RETURN OF THE FACTORY
At the end of the year 1993, the ownership rights to the Rūta confectionery factory were returned to the real owners: the son and granddaughters of Antanas Gricevičius. They returned the factory’s activities to the direction chosen by the founder. In this way, Rūta once again become a factory producing exclusive, original candies representing Lithuania. Later on, in November 2002, Antanas Gricevičius’ Rūta confectionery factory was reorganised to become the private limit liability company Rūta.
The Rūta Chocolate Museum was opened in a protected historical heritage building. It is the only chocolate museum in Lithuania, which tells the history of chocolate that has continued for more than four millennia. The museum has already received more than 160,000 visitors from 95 countries!
The Rūta confectionery factory celebrated its 100th anniversary! The celebrations were attended by all the company’s employees, partners and its most important customers, while a special anniversary series of products was created for the occasion. Owing to their impeccable taste and quality, the series has since become one of the most popular products at the Rūta confectionery factory.
The history of Rūta also reflects Lithuania’s history throughout the last century
– Algirdas Gluodas, Director of UAB Rūta noted then.
The Rūta confectionery factory pays exceptional attention to maintaining the taste, uniqueness and quality of its products. Every year, these efforts are evaluated at Lithuanian and international exhibitions and contests. This is evidence of the company’s aspiration to constantly surprise its consumers with flawless, award-winning products.
GREENZ NEW PRODUCT SERIES
Taking into account the accelerating pace of life and the desire of consumers to be able to quickly eat something nutritious and good for their body, a new GREENZ product workshop was opened. This range of snacks is constantly expanding and now includes almost 30 different products.
The company has implemented a food safety and quality system, certified according to the requirements of the BRC Global Food Safety Standard Issue 8. We respect our history and adhere to family values in our business operations, with a focus on training and developing our employees, as well as constantly implementing advanced production processes that ensure the highest product quality and food safety.
FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY
UAB Rūta has received the Rainforest Alliance certificate. Rūta wants to contribute to a better world for people and nature. That is why we source our cocoa responsibly by buying from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms (www.rainforest-alliance.org).
The company is constantly contributing to a more sustainable world in its choice of packaging and by using moulds made from recycled cocoa bean shells, and is increasingly abandoning the use of plastic. In addition, in the company’s branded stores, a large part of the product range consists of weighed products sold without additional packaging.