Making Every Kernel Count:
Savor This – Kettle Corn from Kansas
Blog written by Leah Clawson
Business is popping at Thrill’s Kettle Corn, as the first, second and third place winners at the Kansas State Fair in 2016! Jerry Hill and his wife, Benleng Hill, own Thrill’s Kettle Corn, which is based in Burlingame, Kansas, now also known as the Kettle Corn Capital of Kansas.
Creating delicious kettle corn began as a hobby for Jerry, and has turned into a business. In 2012, Jerry began selling kettle corn at farmers markets. Now, Thrill’s Kettle Corn can be found all over the world in 78 stores, online, at events, fairs, car shows and even weddings.
Jerry takes great pride in the kettle corn he creates. When he became excited about kettle corn, he began experimenting with the different varieties of popcorn, such as Monster Mushroom Popcorn, Mushroom Popcorn and Butterfly Popcorn, in order to find the perfect type of popcorn for his product. He focuses on using high quality ingredients in order to produce high quality kettle corn.
Popping popcorn starts early in the morning at Thrill’s Kettle Corn – they typically pop from 6:00-11:00 a.m. During this time frame, they can produce nearly 100 bags of kettle corn per hour, with the assistance of their part-time employees.
To create the kettle corn, they add the popcorn kernels, oil and sugar to their popcorn popper. After the kettle corn has popped, they wait until it cools off to bag the corn to avoid melting the plastic bags. As soon as the kettle corn has cooled, it is immediately placed in the bags, sealed and delivered to the stores.
Jerry spoke to their efforts to provide quality to customer service.“Often people call us and order kettle corn, then it is in the store that afternoon,” he says.
Thrill’s Kettle Corn is famous for their award-winning kettle corn flavors – regular, caramel and cinnamon, which won first, second and third place in that respective order at the 2016 Kansas State Fair. If you are looking for unique flavors of kettle corn, you can also try their seasonal blends, such as their Sweetheart special for Valentine’s Day, their Patriotic blend for the July 4th, or their Wildcat Power Corn creation. Jerry is a fan of all the bends he creates, but his favorite flavor remains the regular kettle corn.
When asked about the shelf-life of the kettle corn, Jerry chuckled as he explained how long the kettle corn will last.
“The bags we use are moisture resistant, so it will last 90 days in the bag, or about 20 minutes after you open the bag because you will not be able to stop eating it.”
What started out as a hobby, is now a business Jerry loves. Creating a tasty, local treat and hearing from satisfied customers makes Jerry’s day. His goal is grow Thrill’s Kettle Corn so he can continue doing what he loves on an even larger scale.