Little Bitz – Hoyt’s Buffalo But-a-Kiss Candy
Driven largely by Valentine’s Day, chocolate sales are traditionally strong in February. Everything chocolate-covered, smothered, drizzled, and filled takes center stage. But it was peanut butter candy that was popular at this time of year in the early- to mid-1900s. But-A-Kiss, once one of the country’s best-selling peanut butter candies, made its home in Amesbury. Founder Frank M. Hoyt created the first of his peanut butter kisses in 1902. (It was a visit to a world’s fair in Buffalo in 1901, that inspired him to coin the brand Hoyt’s Buffalo But-A-Kiss.) By 1923, Hoyt’s confections and other peanut products, including salted peanuts and peanut butter, were being sold throughout the U.S. and in eight foreign countries. Even today, the containers that once held F.M. Hoyt & Co. products, especially the 5- and 10-pound cardboard boxcar-shaped containers that held But-A-Kiss candy, are much sought after, and are often sold at premium prices. (Hoyt products were also sold under the names Pickaninny and Powow.) The “Buffalo” brand, featuring a large, grazing buffalo on its logo, was the earliest and most common, according to local historian Simon Hoyt’s website (no relation to Frank M. Hoyt) and the Amesbury City Forgotten Industry site. In 1925, the Amesbury Rotary Club was chartered with Frank M. Hoyt as a member. Hoyt became its president in 1928.