Ramsey County History – Spring 2022: “The Man and the Can: Patrick J. Towle and the St. Paul Origins of Log Cabin Syrup”
The Man and the Can: Patrick J. Towle and the St. Paul Origins of Log Cabin Syrup
Author: Mathew M. Thomas
In 1888, after a grocery business failed in Chicago, Patrick J. Towle relocated to St. Paul with a new focus on packaging and selling a single product—maple-flavored syrup. Settling on Log Cabin Syrup as a brand name, Towle put into action an advertising and marketing plan that made his product the country’s best-known brand of table syrup. The Towle family and the Towle Syrup Company took risks and overcame challenges—from accusations of mislabeling and selling an adulterated product, to burned out factories, to the death of the company founder. In 1927, the Postum Company, the precursor to General Foods, purchased Log Cabin Syrup from Towle’s sons. However, the Towle family legacy did not end there. Retaining ownership of the plant in the city’s West Side Flats, the Towles and other company leaders formed Pioneer Maple Products, creating and marketing Bucket Brand Syrup for another decade.