History of Growth and Innovation

Founded in 1865, DDW has grown from a small company owned by a Dutch immigrant to one of the world’s leading providers of caramel and natural colours for food and beverage applications. Today, DDW operates ten natural colour manufacturing facilities on five continents.

Select a date range to learn more about the history of DDW.

2016 – Present

  • 2016 – Launched Purple Corn Color – An anthocyanin based red color, created using water extraction, that has a sustainable, traceable, and transparent supply chain.

2011 – 2015

  • 2011 – Expanded Science & Innovation laboratory facilities in Louisville, KY.
  • 2012 – Launched improved oil dispersible technology.
    • Launched certified organic annatto in powder form
    • Achieved prestigious GFSI food quality/safety certification with “A” rating
  • 2013 – Acquired DuPont™ Danisco® Food Colourings.
  • 2014 – Established DDW Colours Ltd to manufacture natural colours in Cork, Ireland.
  • 2015 – Celebrated 150-year Anniversary
    • Opened new natural colors facility in Lousville, KY to manufacture EmulsiTech™ color emulsions
    • Acquired KleurCraft™ portfolio of colouring foods from SVZ International B.V.

2005 – 2010

  • 2005 – Acquired elderberry & chokeberry colouring business from Artemis International. Launched first certified organic caramel colours in North America.
  • 2006 – Acquired Dinesen Trading Company in Port Washington, WI, adding annatto extract, turmeric, paprika oleoresin & red beet to the naturally derived colouring portfolio.
  • 2008 – Formed joint venture SuperiorPowders Ltd to acquire contract spray-drying facility near Bristol, UK. Launched organic burnt sugar in Europe.
  • 2009 – Launched certified organic annatto extracts in North America. Developed a caramelized sugar natural flavor.
  • 2010 – Launched acid-proof, class one caramel colour.

1998 – 2004

  • 1999 – Began producing in Swaziland to supply customers in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
  • 2001 – Opened South America’s largest caramel colour manufacturing operation in Manaus, Brazil.
  • 2003 – Launched new caramelized products using non-traditional carbohydrate sources (e.g. rice, apple, onion).
  • 2004 – Acquired Cargill’s Cerestar caramel colour operation in Manchester, UK, including its broad selection of burnt sugars & specialty caramels for beer & sauces.

1979 – 1997

  • 1984 – Acquired Food Technology Laboratory, Inc. of Chicago to develop further expertise in customers’ food applications.
  • 1985 – Constructed the first direct pipeline from a caramel colour manufacturer to a soft drink processor.
  • 1987 – Implemented Philip Crosby’s Quality Improvement Process (QIP) for meeting customer expectations and continuous improvement.
  • 1991 – D.D. Williamson (Ireland) Ltd. became Ireland’s 1st food & beverage company to earn ISO 9002 certification
  • 1996 – Established D.D. Williamson Ingredients (Shanghai) Ltd., a wholly-owned foreign enterprise, to manufacture caramel colour for customers in Asia.
  • 1997 – Honored as Finalist, EFQM Excellence Award, Europe’s most prestigious quality award for organizational excellence & continuous improvement.

1865 – 1978

  • 1865 – Founded by Dutch immigrant Douw Ditmars Williamson in New York to manufacture burnt sugars for the brewing industry.
  • 1923 – Consolidated two acquired companies into Emken Malt Product Company, resulting in a broadened ingredient portfolio for brewing customers.
  • 1948 – Constructed a manufacturing facility in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 1963 – Developed double-strength caramel colour with a large soft drink customer in the United States. Double-strength is now the largest caramel category on a global basis.
  • 1970 – Moved head offices from Long Island City, New York to Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 1978 – First overseas facility in County Cork, Ireland, supplies Europe’s growing soft drink industry.