The Enduring Legacy of Nashville’s Sweetest Snack
If you have ever had a hankering for a rich, indulgent and nutty treat, then look no further than a Goo Goo Cluster. This delicious confection is a beloved southern staple that has satisfied sweet tooths for over 110 years! So, enjoy as you learn the truth behind the Cluster.
WHAT, A CLUSTER?
In 1912, in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, America’s first combination candy bar was invented. A roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate. The recipe was a joint undertaking by Mr. Howell Campbell, Sr. and Mr. Porter Moore, the original plant supervisor. Mr. Campbell is said to have blended chocolate the same way fine whiskey is blended, as he was very particular about the quality of all the ingredients.
Though the Goo Goo Cluster recipe hasn’t changed over the years, the production method has undergone a few tweaks. Goo Goo’s used to be hand dipped and sold without wrappers under glass at drug store candy counters. Due to its renegade shape, it was more difficult to wrap than the conventional rectangular or square shapes of the day.
This was the first time multiple elements were mass-produced in a retail confection. Before the advent of the Goo Goo Cluster, candy bar manufacturing consisted of bars solely using chocolate, caramel or taffy. So, since the Goo Goo Cluster was the first bar with more than one principal ingredient, it was more complex. With the dawn of hand wrapping, ladies would swaddle the Goo Goo Clusters in tinfoil. But eventually, machinery was put in place to automate wrapping the Goo Goo Cluster – which is how they are sold in stores today.
GOO GOO WHO?
The story of how the candy came to be named comes in many versions, but two stand out over all the rest, and only one is true! The most popular myth is due to Goo Goo’s longtime partnership with the Grand Ole Opry. To this day, many people think the partnership was the basis for the candy’s name – GOO = Grand Ole Opry. However, the Opry was formed in 1925, thirteen years after the candy was introduced. The marketing campaign, “Go get a Goo Goo, it’s good!,” was such a success that many still identify one with the other.
The true tale of how the candy got its name is that Howell Campbell was riding the streetcar to work one day and told his fellow passengers about this new candy he had made. He mentioned that he was struggling to find a name for it, and a few passengers made suggestions, but nothing excited him. Eventually, the conversation shifted, and a school teacher inquired about Campbell’s young son. Campbell told her he had just said his first words: “goo goo.” The teacher exclaimed, “That’s what you should call your candy – Goo Goo!” From there, the first slogan was born: “Goo Goo! It’s so good, people will ask for it from birth.”
EXPERIENCE THE GOO
The beloved cluster has continued to garner adoration and support from loyal customers nationwide with the recent transformation of its downtown Nashville shop. The storefront on Lower Broadway allows visitors to experience the delicious confection in a whole new way!
Goo Goo Cluster regularly offers the Taste of Goo Goo class. With this totally chocolate-covered experience, guests can learn about the brand and what it takes to be a chocolatier while creating their own premium Goo Goo. Guests visiting the storefront can also partake in the Design Your Own Premium Goo Goo on a kiosk, selecting their favorite add-ins and fillings like marshmallow, caramel, pretzels, sprinkles and Oreo cookies to fill the milk or dark chocolate shell.
The Secrets of Goo Goo experience features multiple wines sourced from right here in Tennessee, paired with some of our beautiful handmade bonbons. Guests will learn a little about wine, taste some amazing chocolates and even create their own custom Goo Goo!
Lastly, spirits will be lifted during Goos & Booze – a chocolate and libation session with chocolate sampling, beverage pairings and education. Some of Tennessee’s best distilleries are featured during this fun and delicious class.
To learn more about interactive classes, the retail shop and the full-service Chocolate Bar, visit