It’s hard to imagine Twinkies, Sno-Balls, and other Hostess products dying. After all, preservatives have given them a shelf life that rivals that of fine wine. But last fall it seemed as if the spongy, sickly-sweet confections would disappear from the face of the earth. In November, as management and labor feuded over how to reduce the liabilities of Interstate Bakeries, the bankrupt parent company of Hostess, the company announced it would cease operations and consider liquidating. Fearful customers rushed out to hoard Twinkies.
But last month, the Metropouloses, a family of entrepreneurs with a long track record of turning around wounded and orphaned brands, were given approval by a bankruptcy court to acquire control of Hostess. Once the deal closes, they’ll aim to do for Twinkies what they have done with Pabst Blue Ribbon—reposition the brand to a new generation of customers while retaining die-hard fans.
Over the last few decades Greek immigrant Dean Metropoulos has bought, restructured, revived, and sold a series of packaged food brands, including Chef Boyardee, Vlasic Pickles, Bumblebee Tuna, Aunt Jemima, Duncan Hines, and Log Cabin.