A Century Of Sweetness: Take A Tour Of Griffin Foods In Muskogee
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Maybe they were hungry or just curious, but LeAnne Taylor, Alan Crone and Dave Davis wanted to go inside Griffin Foods in Muskogee to see how they make such delicious syrup.
From humble beginnings in McAlester 111 years ago, the company now produces and ships about 1 million cases of product every year.
In a building that's been a fixture in downtown Muskogee since the 1920s, Griffin Foods continues to make products that are shipped across the country.
After years of making coffee, spices, coconut and even candy - the company has narrowed their focus to a few kitchen staples: syrup, molasses, vanilla, corn syrup and mustard.
John Griffin is the owner of Griffin Foods, the sister company of Griffin Communications which owns News On 6. We thought it'd be fun to take folks inside the manufacturing business to see how it's all made.
The facility employs 39 full-time workers. They say making syrup is pretty straightforward.
"We bring in all the raw materials from a variety of sources, including our sweeteners, our flavors, all of our acidulants - and all the things that go into it, said Diana Justice, the Director of Technical Service.
Then it's on to the flavor and sweetener vats upstairs, where the syrup is heated.
The mix is pasteurized, so it's safe to eat, and piped downstairs to the bottle-filling machines. After they're topped off, an automatic labeler lets customers know what kind of syrup they're putting on their pancakes. But wait until you see how the bottles are put in cases.
"Once there's four square, it'll automatically drop them into the box and then off to the case sealer," says Darrin Smith.
Don't forget about the Quality Control lab. At Griffin Foods, when you say "Lab," 42-year veteran Gloria Smith comes to mind.
"I've worked in, of course, the lab, I've worked in the print shop, I've worked in shipping," said Gloria Smith of Griffin Foods.
Her secrets to longevity are the relationships that she's built here, and the atmosphere that the Griffins have been building since 1908.
"It's not just, 'Well that's your job, this is your job, that's my job.' We all pitch in and work together, and that's what a family does," says Gloria.
And many employees tell us - there's nothing quite like seeing a product you made on shelves and tables.
Diana says "at Griffin, our whole thing is customer satisfaction. And it's really fantastic to take it home to our families and to have other people enjoy our products. That's what making foods all about is enjoyment."