The Maker of Pocky Buys Berkeley’s TCHO

More and more food giants — Nestlé, Heineken — are buying artisanal Bay Area companies.

Four years after the chocolatier moved from San Francisco’s Pier 17 to Berkeley, TCHO announced that Ezaki Glico, the Japanese manufacturer of Pocky, has purchased the company for an undisclosed amount. The 12-year-old company is known for upscale, organic chocolate bars with a high cacao content and accessible flavors like Coconut Crisp, Almond + Sea Salt, and Triple Berry.

Sales of artisanal Northern California food companies to larger conglomerates have become common, mostly notably with Nestlé buying a majority state in Blue Bottle Coffee, Heineken purchasing Lagunitas outright, and Anchor Brewing being sold to Sapporo (also of Japan). It’s arguably a form of trans-Pacific cross-pollination, as many local restaurants and eateries — A16, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, Blue Bottle again — have opened locations in places like Tokyo, Seoul, or Singapore.

But it’s definitely not a marriage of equals, as the Osaka-based Ezaki Glico is more than 100 times the size of its newest acquisition, which only has about 40 workers overall.

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