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 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 with 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 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.
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.
LIETUVAITĖ EXCLUSIVE SWEETS
In 1969, the Rūta confectionery factory started producing Lietuvaitė sweets – and the recipe has not changed to this day. 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 became a factory producing exclusive, high-quality sweets representing Lithuania.
In a protected historical heritage building, the Rūta Chocolate Museum was founded – it tells the history of the company, as well as the history of chocolate, which has continued for more than four millennia. The museum was launched by Algirdas Gluodas, who was head of the company at the time, in order to educate the public about chocolate and its production.
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.
INVESTMENTS IN PRODUCTION
In order to meet the market demands and keep its competitive edge, the company constantly invests in its production techniques. In 2017, the company simultaneously launched two production lines for the snacks under the Greenz brand and for chocolate bars.
CHAIN OF BRAND STORES
In 2019, consumers could find stores representing the Rūta confectionery brand in 5 major Lithuanian cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys. The company continues to expand its chain of brand stores every year, both in Lithuania and abroad.
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).
In 2023, Rūta is celebrating its 110th anniversary. In order to commemorate this celebration, an exclusive collection of chocolate and sweets has been created. The design of this collection reveals historical details about Rūta: sweet wrappers designed during the interwar period and photos from different times, reflecting the daily life of the factory.